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.”

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.