Foyt's road back leads to ARCA
by Buddy Shacklette, Daytona Beach News Journal
10 February 2005
DAYTONA BEACH -- Take a stroll through the ARCA Series garage at Daytona International Speedway, and there's no shortage of obscure regional sponsors and solid-colored cars.
The solids stand out like blank billboards, so it was a bit of a surprise when the black No. 16 Dodge carried the name Larry Foyt over the driver's side window.
"Daytona was coming up, and it was killing me not having anything to race," said Foyt, son of the legendary A.J. Foyt. "I've been racing here the last four years, and I just thought I've got to be racing something down there."
His No. 16 Dodge started the day mirroring a solid black billboard, but newly acquired sponsor fulltiltpoker.com, an online poker Web site, will soon adorn the side of his ride as he and 62 other ARCA entries begin practice today for Saturday's Advance Discount Auto Parts 200.
Foyt and his racing career have been in recovery mode since an unsuccessful venture into the Nextel Cup Series in 2003.
After a pair of average seasons (2001-02) in the Busch Series, the 27-year-old and his famous father joined forces with gambling mogul Harrah's Casinos and entered the Cup arena in 2003.
A limited budget and poor results -- 41st-place finish in points, nine provisionals and failing to qualify for six races -- didn't make for a positive experience.
"We really didn't have the budget. We were racing on a quarter of what a lot of those teams race on," Foyt said.
"My dad really wanted to field a Cup team for me, so we were trying to do it on whatever we could. I knew that year that we would probably struggle in Cup. I don't really feel like I ever got a fair shake in Cup, really a chance to show my talents."
Team owner Ray Evernham loaned Foyt a car for the 2003 season finale at Homestead, and he produced a career-best start (12th) and finish (16th). But it did not transfer over to 2004.
A year ago A.J. Foyt, who won the 1972 Daytona 500, footed the bill for his son to make the Daytona 500 -- he started 41st and finished 28th -- but he started only two races the rest of the season.
"We just didn't have the budget to do it, so I figured I'd rather not race at all," Larry Foyt said. "It kind of worked out for me because I got to go run the Indy 500 (in May), which is my childhood dream. Being able to do that was so special to me."
While Foyt tries to work his way back, BAM Racing owners Tony and Beth Ann Morgenthau are behind this week's ARCA effort and are trying to put together some races for Foyt later in the season.
Willing to race anything, Foyt said he has even pursued efforts in other series, but the ARCA Series best fits his financial situation.
"I thought maybe this is a place where the budget we actually race on is more suited toward this series. I felt like this is a little more level playing field," said Foyt, whose best finish here was 11th in the July Busch Series race. "It's tough because I feel like I really got labeled after that year of Cup where we struggled so much.
"I'm still working on my goal of being at the top level of NASCAR. It's so hard now. It takes so much to really go and do this right, especially at the Nextel Cup level."
Entry list by car number for Saturday's ARCA race at Daytona Speedway, with car number, driver, hometown and make of car. ARCA practice begins today.
· 0, Tim Mitchell, Fayettevill Tenn., Chevy.
· 1, Andy Belmont, Penndel, Pa., Ford.
· 2, J.J. Yaley, Phoenix, Ariz., Chevy.
· 3, Marc Mitchell, Tallahassee, Pontiac.
· 4, Mike Guerity, Mooresville, N.C, Dodge.
· 5, Bobby Gerhart, Lebanon, Pa., Chevy.
· 6, Justin Ashburn, Joelton, Tenn., Chevy.
· 7, Kyle Krisiloff, Indianapolis, Ind., Chevy.
· 8, Bill Eversole, Chelsea, Mich., Dodge.
· 9, Joey Miller, Farmington, Minn., Dodge.
· 10, Dexter Bean, Westby, Wisc., Pontiac.
· 11, Chad McCumbee, Supply, N.C, Chevy.
· 12, Mario Gosselin, St. Marie, Quebec, Canada, Chevy.
· 13, Johnny Leonard, Cape Coral, Pontiac.
· 15, Tony Altiere, Lecanto, Pontiac.
· 16, Larry Foyt, Houston, Texas, Dodge.
· 17, AJ Henriksen, Mooresville, N.C., Ford.
· 19, Keith Murt, Paducah, Ken., Chevy.
· 20, Ken Wheeler, Dallas, Texas, Chevy.
· 21, Todd Bowsher, Springfield, Ohio, Ford.
· 23, Joe Cooksey, Centralia, Ill., Chevy.
· 25, Billy Venturini, Chicago, Ill., Chevy.
· 26, Brad Smith, Belleville Mich., Ford.
· 27, Dicky Williams, Savannah, Ga., Ford.
· 28, J.R. Patton,Chevy.
· 29, Brian Keselowski, Rochester Hills, Mich., Ford.
· 30, Terry Jones, Amherst, Ontario, Canada, Dodge.
· 32, Jerick Johnson, Faribault, Minn., Ford.
· 33, Robert Richardson, McKinney, Texas, Ford.
· 34, Darrell Basham, Hevryville, Ind., Chevy.
· 35, Sam Bearn, Mooresville, N.C., Pontiac.
· 38, Mike Harmon, Birmingham, Ala., Chevy.
· 39, TBA, Chevy.
· 44, Tim Steele, Coopersville, Mich., Ford.
· 46, Frank Kimmel, Clarksville, Ind., Ford.
· 48, Kertus Davis, Gaffney, S.C., Chevy.
· 49, Dan Shaver, Charlotte, N.C., Chevy.
· 56, Ryan Howard, Tipp City, Ohio, Pontiac.
· 59, Mark Gibson, Winder Ga., Pontiac.
· 60, Todd Kluever, Sun Prarie, Wisc., Ford.
· 62, Clair Zimmerman, Denver, Pa., Pontiac.
· 64, Matt Hagans, Indianapolis, Ind., Dodge.
· 65, Malt Brannen, Elko, Ga., Dodge.
· 67, Chad Blount, Walkerton, Ind., Chevy.
· 68, Steve Bramley, Pocono Lake, Pa., Chevy.
· 75, GR Smith, Folsom, N.J., Ford.
· 78, Doug Reid, Pleasant Grove, Ala., Chevy.
· 79, Tim Turner, Pulaski, Tenn., Pontiac.
· 84, Norm Benning, Pittsburgh, Pa., Chevy.
· 88, Eddie Mercer, Pensacola, Dodge.
· 90, David Ragan, Kannapolis, N.C, Dodge.
· 91, Christi Passmore, Pryor, Okla., Ford.
· 92, Paul White, Temple, Texas, Ford.
· 94, Blake Feese, Saybrook, Ill., Chevy.
· 95, Roger Williams, Charlotte, N.C, Pontiac.
· 96, Brandon Knupp, Sidney, Ohio, Ford.
· 98, Benny Chastain, Henryville, Ind., Chevy.
· 00, Ed Kennedy, Coppell, Texas, Pontiac.
· 04, Jason Basham, Henryville, Ind., Chevy.
· 06, Butch Jarvis, Blountville Tenn., Chevy.
· 07, Jeff Spraker, Latham, N.Y., Pontiac.
· 08, T.J. Bell, Sparks, Nev., Chevy.
· 09, Billy Walker, Boaz, Ala., Chevy