A.J. Foyt undergoes successful back surgery

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A.J. Foyt missed his team’s race Sunday in Long Beach, Calif., where new driver Takuma Sato won, for a bigger reason: the legendary 78-year-old team owner had back surgery in Houston.

The surgery went well and Foyt, a four-time Indianapolis 500 champion, is targeting a return to the track for this year’s 500-mile race. The team has two cars entered for Sato and rookie Conor Daly, the latter of whom was also in attendance in Long Beach.

From the A.J. Foyt Racing Facebook page:

A.J. underwent successful back surgery today in a Houston hospital. Foyt, 78, will be kept overnight as a precaution. Neurosurgeon Dr. David Cech performed the laminectomy procedure in the lumbar region of Foyt’s spine to relieve the sciatic nerve pain he had been experiencing recently. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Although the surgery was originally scheduled to be Wednesday, Foyt asked for the earlier surgery to hasten his recovery period. He is planning to be at Indianapolis next month as his ABC Supply IndyCar team works to continue the momentum gained from Takuma’s victory in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.