A.J. Foyt

Racing Champion, Four-Time Indy 500 Winner, Team Owner

The big advice you give people who want to be successful is, ‘You got to work at it.’ It don’t come easy.
A.J. Foyt

About the Innovator

Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr., was born in Houston, Texas, on January 16, 1935. He grew up surrounded by cars in his father’s auto repair shop, listening to the Indianapolis 500 on the radio and dreaming of one day earning a place in the starting grid. His first midget car races in 1953 launched a 40-year driving career defined by success and versatility. Foyt moved between open-wheel, stock and sports cars with ease, winning multiple championships in the USAC, IndyCar and IROC series. He earned victories at the Daytona 500, the Daytona 24-hour, the Sebring 12-hour and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

When asked to name his greatest accomplishment, A.J. Foyt answers without hesitation: qualifying for his first appearance at the Indianapolis 500 in 1958. It was the fulfillment of a dream, but only the beginning of an incredible 35-year streak that saw him start in the race every year through 1992. Foyt took the checkered flag several times along the way – in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977 – becoming Indy’s first four-time winner.

After retiring as a driver in 1994, Foyt devoted his energies to his A.J. Foyt Enterprises racing team, fielding cars in IndyCar and NASCAR events. When Kenny Bräck won the Indianapolis 500 in 1999, Foyt made his fifth trip to the Brickyard’s Victory Lane – this time as a team owner.

Why He Innovates

Foyt never wanted to be anything but a race car driver. His devotion and tenacity kept him in the sport through accidents and injuries that would’ve pushed other drivers into retirement. His intuitive sense for design kept him on the leading edge of many of racing’s major innovations, from Indianapolis’s rear-engine revolution of the 1960s to the adoption of ground effects in the 1970s.