A.J. Foyt back on his feet after successful hip replacement surgery

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The next time you see legendary race car driver and team owner A.J. Foyt walking around, he’ll likely have a lot more spring in his step.

Foyt successfully underwent hip replacement surgery on Monday and doctors expect him to make a full recovery, according to a story on IndyCar.com.

The 78-year-old Foyt fell and injured himself while working on his ranch near Houston, Texas last month, prompting the need for surgery.

“I was a little nervous about this surgery but they had me up and walking the same day,” Foyt said. “I’m sore but nothing like I was before the surgery. I guess I waited too long to have it done though because my hip was in really bad shape. They couldn’t believe I was walking at all.”

Foyt will miss this weekend’s Indy car return to Pocono Raceway after a 23-year absence. Foyt is a former four-time winner at Pocono in the USAC and CART series.

“The doctors tell me it will be six to eight weeks before I can travel,” said Foyt, whose last career Indy car win was at Pocono in 1982.

Foyt, who still holds the record for most career Indy car wins (67), will remain in the hospital for several more days to continue post-op recovery and rehabilitation.

Monday’s surgery was the second for Foyt in three months. One of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times (others were Al Unser and Rick Mears), Foyt had successful lower back surgery in April to relieve pain from a sciatic nerve issue.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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