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


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.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”