A.J. Foyt might run Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart in Indy 500

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Legendary driver-turned-owner A.J. Foyt says he would consider fielding a race car for Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart – or both – in next year’s Indianapolis 500.

“If (Gordon) wanted to, yes he could do a good job at Indy and if he wanted to, I’d consider it,” Foyt told The Detroit News. “Tony too. I gave Tony his first Indy ride in testing. Definitely I would (consider giving them a seat) because I know they could do the job.”

It would be a milestone 500 for Foyt, who turns 80 next January. The four-time Indy 500 winner would be celebrating his 58th year in racing that year, as well.

One of the reasons Foyt is inspired to run cars for Gordon and/or Stewart was Kurt Busch’s impressive rookie debut in this year’s Indy 500, finishing sixth, he told The News’ David Gorecki.

“I think (Busch) did a good job,” said Foyt, adding that he wasn’t surprised at how well Busch did. “No, he always has been a hard driver. I think he got away with a lot of stuff that should have bit him like that one day (crash on Monday prior to race), but he did a good job.”

The question now is whether Stewart or Gordon would be interested in joining forces with Foyt, especially since it would likely cost about $1 million for just the one-off month of May effort.

Then again, if you were a potential sponsor who could have your company’s name associated with Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart and at the fabled Indianapolis 500, you’d probably be ready to write a check for $2 million to make sure both drivers get into next year’s race, which would be the 99th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Motorsports.

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F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

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Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.