Petition now up for awarding Presidential Medal of Freedom to racing icon A.J. Foyt


A.J. Foyt has won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But a fan petition is seeking to give him one more special accolade.

On the White House’s petition page, a fan from St. Louis, Missouri has created one asking President Barack Obama to award Foyt with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The petition, posted yesterday, is short and sweet: “In honor of his 80th birthday and his unequaled record of winning in all forms of auto racing, including four wins at Indianapolis, we petition President Obama to award A.J. Foyt the Medal of Freedom.”

Along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal (which is bestowed through an act of the U.S. Congress), the Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in our country. It is awarded to individuals who have made “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The petition needs to have 100,000 online signatures by March 8 in order to receive a response from the Obama administration.

Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Richard Petty was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 following the end of his own superb driving career. He is currently the only racer ever to receive the honor.

Foyt, a four-time Indy 500 champion, is currently a team owner in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He is recovering from complications that occurred after undergoing triple-bypass heart surgery in November 2014 and celebrated his 80th birthday this past January.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”