A.J. Foyt won’t be making the trip to either Pocono or Sonoma, the last two races of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
The 80-year-old, four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and team principal of A.J. Foyt Enterprises is recovering from surgery, which he had on August 10 due to a staph infection in his right artificial knee (the January, 2012 infection was in his left artificial knee). The prosthesis was removed, and in its place an antibiotic-infused cement spacer was inserted to aid in clearing up the infection.
Once his doctors are satisfied that the infection has cleared (about six weeks), Foyt will undergo another surgery to have a new artificial knee implanted, which will require an additional six weeks of recovery time.
“Well this is one of the worst things I’ve gone through in my life,” Foyt said in a statement, via the team’s pre-race release.
“Knowing I have five or six weeks dealing with this and then having to get operated on again to take the spacer out and put in a new knee. This staph infection, it’s the second time I’ve had it and it’s really beat me down. I don’t know if I’ll ever be like I used to be but I’m sure hoping, so I’m fighting awful hard.”
Foyt’s drivers, Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth, head into this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono – a home race for their sponsor – 14th and 17th in points. ABC Supply will have more than 1,300 guests on hand for the race.
Hawksworth didn’t start last year after he was injured in a heavy accident in practice, then driving for Bryan Herta Autosport.
“Last year’s accident was a combination of a few things, pushing a little hard on cold tires and being a little aggressive in terms of car setup to try to dial it in for qualifying,” Hawksworth said in the release. “We had a limited amount of track time that weekend and with no testing leading up to the event, I think it pushed us into a tricky situation. That’s racing sometimes!
“Honestly, I’m really hoping for some redemption at Pocono this year. The accident wasn’t fun but it’s a long time ago now and it would be great to firmly wipe that one from memory with a good run this year.”
Sato has qualified well the last two years at Pocono, seventh and fourth, but has yet to finish a race there.
“Turn 1 and 3 are very different corners as one has a big banking and the other has no banking which made the balance of the car quite different so we work to get closer on balance between these two and seem to be succeeding at that,” Sato said in the release.
“Since we have a very good chassis setup here, I believe we should be strong even with the new aerokit. Particularly since the configuration of the aerokit is the version that we run well with this year.”