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.
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.
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?
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.