Sick of losing, Foyt puts son in Winston Cup seat
by Larry Woody, Tennessean
13 February 2003
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — During his driving days the only thing quicker than A.J. Foyt's race cars was his temper.
He hasn't mellowed much as a team owner.
''My dad's still very competitive,'' said Larry Foyt, A.J.'s 25-year-old son, who will drive his father's Winston Cup car this season. ''My dad can be demanding, but that's good. It pushes you to do your best.''
Larry Foyt makes his debut in 17th position in today's first of the two 125-mile races that help set the field for Sunday's Daytona 500.
A.J. Foyt is widely considered the greatest all-around racer in history. Among his triumphs: four Indianapolis 500s and the 1972 Daytona 500. But as a team owner, Foyt is still searching for his first victory. He has gone through a series of drivers, frantically searching for a winner.
A.J. promises to go easier on his new driver, even though he's boosting him to Winston Cup after just a brief warm-up in the Busch Series.
''I threw him in there with a pack of wolves, maybe on purpose,'' A.J. said. ''It will be easier now because he has a lot of supervision to lead him the right way. He's had a hard road coming up here, but he doesn't need to worry about hiring and firing.''
He said his team had been ''so bad the last couple of years I didn't want to go racing because I was so embarrassed. I'm not used to running in the back.'' Foyt's team finished 37th last year but he said that's going to change.
''It's going to be back to 'My way or the highway,' '' he said. ''I have been really nice to some people and it didn't pay off. We were running last and that's not my way.''
Larry Foyt said he believes his father can pull the team up by sheer willpower.
''The team has really struggled the past few years but my dad has worked hard to turn that around,'' he said. ''He is determined to make his team a winner. I guess that puts a lot of pressure on me as the driver, but it's good pressure. I want to win just as bad as my dad does.''
Larry Woody writes about auto racing for The Tennessean. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 259-8019. Material from various sources was used in compiling this report.