Sato Delivers Foyt A Long Beach Victory
Foyt brought his son, Larry, to the team in 2006 when he was named team director. Foyt knew that in order for A.J. Foyt Racing to continue he would need to have a younger Foyt in charge of the team. Sunday’s win was the first for Larry Foyt and proves the next generation can return A.J. Foyt Racing to competitiveness.
“I hope so,” Larry said. “I always kind of had hopes and plans of coming back and running our team our keeping our team going for as long as I can. When my driving career wasn’t going so well, that’s what dad called me and said, ‘Son, I’m getting older. If you really want to keep this thing going, maybe you ought to think of coming home and learn the business.’ That’s what I did. I didn’t want to come in and make a ton of changes right off. I observed and slowly started to make changes.
“We work together a lot. I hardly make any decisions that I don’t bounce off of AJ that we don’t discuss and talk about. Amazing, as stern as he can be on some things, he’s not one of those people that doesn’t understand change. He’s been very supportive and understands everything we’re doing and changing. I’m happy. I’m glad we have another multi-year contract with ABC who has been awesome with us. I think that puts us in a good position with the future. What this guy did today, hopefully that keeps us heading in that direction.”
It was not a good day for the two previous IndyCar winners this season. James Hinchcliffe stuffed his Andretti Autosport car in the tire barrier in turn one on lap 35 after contact with Tony Kanaan. He would finish 26th. And defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay who won the previous race at Barber Motorsports Park two weeks ago also buried his car in the tire barrier in turn eight on lap 51. That dropped him to sixth in the standings with 73 points.
Helio Castroneves of Team Penske finished 10th but remains the points leader with 99 points. But Sato has moved into second in points with 93 as the series heads to Brazil for the May 5 race on the streets of Sao Paulo.
It was also a big day for Honda. After suffering problems in the first two IndyCar races this season Honda roared back to dominance with Sato leading a four position Honda sweep followed by Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and pole winner Dario Franchitti.
“It’s great,” Larry Foyt said of Honda’s performance. “We’re not the big guy, for sure. I don’t know that someday maybe we would want to be. What we did is hard work is what got us there. I think people started to take notice last year when we started to show some speed. People would say, ‘You guys are starting to turn it around.’ You can never rest in this game.
“Even after a day like today, we’re thinking about Brazil and what we’ve got to do there. It’s still hard, like Takuma said. Everyone is so tight. Today was an amazing day for him to pull away like that. You don’t see that much in this series. We’re going to keep working hard. Our goal is obviously to win as many races as we can, win the Indy 500, win the championship. It’s still full steam ahead for us.”