It’s been 52 years since A.J. Foyt won the first open-wheel race – and the first race of any type – to be held at the then-brand-new Phoenix International Raceway on March 22, 1964.
And now, with the Verizon IndyCar Series returning to PIR for the first time since 2005 this weekend, it’s fitting that Foyt once again figures into PIR’s rich legacy.
Foyt and PIR track president Bryan R. Sperber were joined by Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles, as well as drivers Graham Rahal and Ed Carpenter, to unveil the A.J. Foyt Champions Trophy, which will be awarded to the winner of Saturday night’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix at PIR.
Foyt not only won the inaugural open-wheel race (under USAC sanction at the time) at PIR, he went on to compile a record of 14 starts (USAC and CART combined), one win, four top-five and six top-10 finishes at the one-mile oval in the desert.
Foyt would go on to win a record 67 Indy car races and seven IndyCar championships as a driver. That included winning the Indianapolis 500 a record four times (1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977), a mark later tied by Al Unser and Rick Mears.
He won the ‘500 one other time in 1999 as a team owner and the IndyCar championship in 1998, both with Kenny Brack.
Here’s more tweets from the event: