Throwback Thursday: A.J. Foyt’s final win in 1981 USAC race at Pocono

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In three weeks the Verizon IndyCar Series begins the final two races of its 2015 season at Pocono Raceway. It’s the third and final race of their current contract, after the 2013 race was the first at the 2.5-mile track since 1989.

Plenty of open-wheel history occurred at the track before then though and much of it involved A.J. Foyt, who won there five times. In fact, two of Foyt’s final three wins were at Pocono, the first coming in 1979.

Foyt’s 67th and final USAC Champ Car / Gold Crown Series win took place at Pocono in the 1981 Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500, on June 21, 1981.

The race is notable because Champ Car boycotted the race, leading to USAC dirt cars being used to fill out the field.

Footage of the 1981 race, which featured 29 cars and was shortened to 122 laps because of rain, couldn’t be found online, but there is the video below. It’s a slideshow of pictures taken by a fan in the garage area at Pocono the weekend of the race.

Check here for a few photos from the race itself.

You’ll be able to spot Foyt in his garage stall with his Valvoline / Gilmore sponsored No. 14 car. Foyt led 35 laps of the race before it was called.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”