Foyt team looks to be stronger in ’16 with key front office changes

(Getty Images)

While the driver lineup of Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth will remain the same in 2016 for A.J. Foyt Racing’s ABC Supply Racing team, there will be two key changes on the administrative side of the organization.

Foyt and his son, team president Larry Foyt, announced Wednesday that in addition to the previously revealed hire of George Klotz to serve as Team Director, Don Halliday will move from Chief Engineer to Technical Director, overseeing the team’s race engineers and the Honda race cars.

“(This is) an important step to bringing some consistency to the team’s performance,” Larry Foyt said in a release. The moves are the next evolution as the team moves forward into its second season as a two-car entry. Prior to 2015, ABC Supply Racing was a one-car team from 2003 through 2014.

We’re happy to have both Takuma and Jack continuing with us next season because we know they have the talent to win races,” Larry Foyt said. “Maintaining that continuity and building on what we started last season should show immediate benefits.

“This winter we are focusing on putting all the pieces in place to not only win, but to be a championship caliber team. The consistency of keeping our nucleus together while strengthening our weak points should give us some very competitive ABC cars in the upcoming season.”

Sato will embark upon his fourth season with the Foyt organization in 2016. In so doing, he becomes the second-longest tenured full-time driver in team history behind founder A.J. Foyt. It is also the longest Sato has been with any team in IndyCar or Formula One.

“It is an absolute honor to be continuously driving for AJ Foyt Racing,” Sato said. “I just appreciate that A.J. and Larry have given me such a fantastic opportunity to drive for this team. I have had great memories with the team and am very happy to add many more.”

Hawksworth, meanwhile, enters his second season with the Foyt operation and his third season in IndyCar.

“We know there is a large amount of work to be done if we are going to compete regularly with the top teams next season,” Hawksworth said. “It’s clear though that the team is already making steps and I’m excited about what George Klotz can bring to the table in 2016.

“It’s far too early to make any predictions but I’m optimistic that if we can have a strong winter program then we’ll certainly put ourselves in a stronger position than this past season.”

Klotz, 54, previously worked for the elder Foyt in 1990-1991 as a mechanic. He will oversee operation of both cars and will evaluate ways to improve overall efficiency and streamline team operations.

“I think they are so close to breaking out, and I think that is the feeling throughout the paddock,” Klotz said of the organization. “All of the elements are there, we just need to get everything aligned and I think I can help Larry with that.

“He’s done a great job to get the team to this point and I’m excited by the possibilities and the guys seem excited too.”

Klotz has worked for a number of teams including Foyt, Hayhoe Cole Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing, Forsythe Racing, Andretti Green Racing and its successor, Andretti Autosport, which he spent the last 15 seasons with as team director.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

How to Watch Seattle Supercross
Dylan Ferrandis may return before SX finale
SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points