Legends of the 500: “Super Tex” A.J. Foyt

Published On April 30, 2016 » 2073 Views» By Wesley Johnson » Blogs, IMS, IMS History, Indy 500

We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 29 days to go, we look back at one of the race’s most enduring champions.

More Legends: Rick Mears | Al Unser | Dario Franchitti | Helio Castroneves | Bobby Unser | Wilbur ShawMauri Rose | Louis Meyer | Johnny RutherfordMore 100 days

Of all the 750-plus drivers who have competed in the Indianapolis 500, the 69 winners, the 19 men who have won multiple times – A.J. Foyt is the ultimate. A versatile superstar in Indy cars, midget cars, sprint cars and stock cars, the beloved “Super Tex” is the only driver to win the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500 – and of course he won Indy four times. He also holds the record for IndyCar career wins with 67 and has won six IndyCar National Championships.

The first win, on the bricks in 1961. (The main straightaway would be fully paved over by the next "500" in 1962, save one yard.)

The first win, on the bricks in 1961. (The main straightaway would be fully paved over by the next “500” in 1962, save one yard.)

One of the most amazing milestones of Foyt’s career here is that he raced in a record 35 straight Indy 500s, amassing 12,272.5 miles (just about halfway around the world). Foyt is also the only driver to win the Indy 500 in both front- and rear-engined cars, winning twice in each. Foyt is the oldest driver ever to race in the 500 (in 1992 at age 57), and was not only dominant on the IndyCar circuit, but he also managed to win seven NASCAR Cup races.

Foyt has had his share of serious injuries both on and off of the track, yet “’ol A.J.” perseveres.

Foyt has persevered through a roll call of injuries that are almost absurd to take in all at once. There was the broken back, burns, shattered ankles, nearly lost limbs – and that was the on-track distress. Off the track, there were the killer bees, multiple surgeries, a knee replacement and a near-drowning when his bulldozer flipped into a pond. But no one was tougher than A.J. Ask yourself this: Who else would you put up against a lion for a promotional stunt?

We heard that this brief tussle was a draw, but we also bet the lion was a little sore the next day.

We heard that this brief tussle was a draw, but we also bet the lion was a little sore the next day.

The 81-year-old is still a fixture in the Verizon IndyCar Series as the owner of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, a team that has fielded cars in open-wheel and NASCAR competition. As a team owner, Foyt has won five Indy car championships.

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About The Author

Wesley Johnson

I joined the IMS Communications team in March 2016, two months before the 100th Indy 500. Though born and raised in Indianapolis, I have a background in sports but am new to the racing world. I have interned for the Indiana Sports Corp and Indiana Pacers. I enjoy learning about racing, listening to music, going to the movies and supporting my IUPUI Jaguars.
2 comments
TomBierbaum
TomBierbaum

One note, A.J. is the only driver to win Indy, Daytona and LE MANS, Mario Andretti fans everywhere will quickly note that he's also an Indy / Daytona winner (and the only Indy / Daytona / F1 World Champ).

TomBierbaum
TomBierbaum

This will be the 100th Indy 500 and if all goes well for him and the team, A.J. will have participated as a driver and / or owner in 59 of them. If a rookie driver in 1911 had stuck with it as long as A.J., he'd have still been showing up as a participant with an unbroken streak of involvement in 1969 (and given the war years, to get the streak up to 59 RACES, he'd have to keep coming back until 1975).  For longevity and certainly for performance, in my opinion, the best ever.