IndyCar: As 80th birthday approaches, A.J. Foyt talks about ongoing recovery

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Verizon IndyCar Series team owner and four-time Indianapolis 500 champion A.J. Foyt continues to recover after surviving complications following his triple bypass heart surgery last November.

But in an update issued by his race team, the tough Texan has admitted that he’s frustrated with how long said recovery process is taking.

“I’ve had a lot of accidents and have always recovered pretty fast,” said Foyt, who turns 80 years old on Friday. “But this is altogether different from an accident because it’s a health problem.

“All during my career, I never had any health problems so I don’t think I realized how lucky you are when you’re healthy. This last deal really caught me off guard and I think I’ve got it whipped now but it’s going to take time.

“My doctors told me it wasn’t something I’d recover from real quick. I didn’t want to accept that—and still don’t—but it’s taking me a lot longer than I thought.

“I’m not one of those guys that can just lay around and take it easy, but that’s exactly what I’ve got to do now. It’s driving me nuts.”

Foyt’s bypass surgery was a success, but he remained hospitalized until Dec. 2. According to his team, he was then re-admitted just one week later and spent another two weeks in the hospital to have several procedures done that were related to the complications.

Thankfully, “SuperTex” is now resting at his Houston home. However, the team says he’s thinking about making a brief visit to his team’s base in Waller, Texas on Friday to mark his birthday.

He’s also been keeping tabs on the team’s expansion to two full-time programs in 2015 for Takuma Sato and newcomer Jack Hawksworth.

“Larry and I talk every day to discuss the second team,” A.J. says in reference to his youngest son and team director. “I have to leave all of the hiring up to him, but he’d ask my opinion and a few I said no to and a few, yes. He analyzed it all and we agreed on everything.

“I think he’s done a great job, with it being the first time he’s had to put everything together. He stepped up to the plate big time. I felt like he could do it, but I didn’t know if he really wanted it, but he’s done a helluva job.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.