Welcome to The Larry Foyt Fan Club!

The Fabulous Foyts

Conversation with Larry Foyt
from ANR-AtT

Kimberlee T. Wilson - ANR-AtT

The name Foyt is synonymous with all things racing. Very few have had a legacy in motorsports so vast and broad that it becomes the first association in remembrance. It matters not what sanction one would refer, a Foyt is sure to have been there, raced his heart out and left his mark.

In NASCAR, change has become the one constant we can rely on; new drivers, new rules, new formats. On any given Sunday, a race program is mandatory just to keep track of the ever-changing faces, and scientific calculators are required to follow the penalties. Is it any wonder then, that sponsors are scarce, veterans are leaving and faces change faster than a pit stop? The fans however, have not changed. They crave a return to the days of pure racing when it was man against man and the machine was just an added bonus. When names such as Petty, Andretti and Foyt dazzled the fans and baffled the competitors. How unfortunate that those that have built the sport have been lost in the negotiations of billion dollar deals and multi-car teams. At days end, it isn’t a young gun or a rookie that creates our history, it is a family tree that’s roots are firmly planted in the soil of our sport.

Larry Foyt sat down with ANR-AtT's Kimberlee T. Wilson in Mooresville, NC where he runs his own shop and builds his own cars.

(As I sat down for the interview, Larry commented on my Kenneth Cole Brief Case and reminded me that Kenneth Cole had been a sponsor of his. I decided that Larry Foyt has the perfect image for the Versace car, are you listening Donnatella?)

ANR-AtT - With Harrah’s back in Cup, do you see yourself going back with them?

Larry - No, Robby tried to get them from me for years, he’s friends with the higher ups in the company so, I think that’s where it came from, he was able to keep them in the sport.

ANR-AtT - Do you think they will (Harrah’s) stay?

Larry - I think it’s dependant on results, all the big companies now, the pressure they’re under from stock holders, you have to perform and I guess they have to see that they’re getting results for the amount of money they’re spending. Unfortunately for us, they spent the same amount of money on me for a full season and Robby is just running a few races for them. That was our fault as much as it was theirs; I know that left a bad taste in their mouth and put us in a bad situation. I hope for both of them {Robby and Harrah’s} that it works out.

ANR-AtT - What do you see yourself having accomplished at the end of this year?

Larry - I think for the end of this year, I just want to be back in a full-time, competitive ride. At this point, I don’t even really care what series it is, I just want to be back out with a chance to show what I can do, whether it be Cup, Busch or Truck, it really wouldn’t matter I guess, just as long as I was in competitive stuff and having fun racing.

ANR-AtT - Your Dad’s Truck Program, how is that going? Are you just waiting on sponsorship?

Larry - There really isn’t a truck program yet. I’m tied in pretty heavily with BAM Racing, they made a commitment to help me with my career and it’s been great, they helped me run the ARCA race in Daytona. Tony and Beth Ann Morgenthau are really great people and it’s been really fun to watch their organization grow and their race team continue to grow with Schwan’s and Schrader, so hopefully…..they would like to get me in a truck to keep getting me experience so when something opens up I’ll be ready. They’re constantly looking for sponsorship everyday as I am, so that’s the biggest hold up at the end of the day is sponsorship. We’ve still got the infrastructure here at the race shop, things of that nature, so it just needs sponsorship!

ANR-AtT - What do you think of all these veterans leaving the sport?

Larry - It’s crazy how this sport is getting younger and younger everyday, I’m starting to feel old and I’m only 28! I figured, geez, what’s my shelf life on this deal? I don’t know, it’s kinda crazy, but I think this sport has trends and it goes up and down and we’ll just see what happens.

ANR-AtT - What do you think of these much younger guys coming into the sport?

Larry - You know, some of them are very, very talented and some of them that are probably thrown in there, not really with the right experience to get it done…and they’re gonna make mistakes, but the thing is, they’re getting in great experience and they’re gonna be successful because the equipment is very good stuff and I think the way they’re training them and bringing them up…you either have it or you don’t.

ANR-AtT - With younger guys coming in and getting into these larger rides, what are your thoughts on the new Qualifying Procedure?

Larry - Oh boy, I think it’s a good idea on the whole, I think it’s a good deal. I wish it was a couple of years ago when we had a chance to get a car into the top 35, but I haven’t experienced it enough, it’s still too new. I know it’s tough when big sponsors go home because then they do get a bad taste for the sport and right now I think it’s harder than ever to find these big sponsorships, especially for smaller teams. You’re at such a disadvantage already when the big teams can offer so much more than you can, it makes it really hard.

I don’t think you’ll have that many cars left in a few years that aren’t huge, multi-car, super operations. That’s just the way the trend is going. It’s a shame that there are fewer and fewer owners and more multi-car teams.

ANR-AtT - Your ARCA plans with Full Tilt Poker.com………………

Larry - Gosh, that was a fun race for us, we built that car in two weeks. Keith {Larry’s Crew Chief} and some guys that used to work for me that are on other teams would come over at midnight and help us and it was just a true effort. Daytona was coming and I thought, “….there’s gotta be something we can go race, Daytona’s here and we can’t go race, don’t we have anything we can even just go race the ARCA with?” We found a car and Beth Ann and Tony helped me get an engine, Keith pretty much built that thing from scratch, it was just amazing, it had never seen the race track and we didn’t know what it would do. We qualified 12th, which I hoped we could be in the top ten but when the race started I thought, we can win this race, I can’t believe it…..how good the car was and it was great all night. We would have been in the lead, and then they penalized us on that pit stop. Just one of those things…..we came all the way back through the pack then they shortened the race, everything just worked against us. I hate that they had that big wreck at the end. It was a fun race, just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re still talking to Full Tilt Poker, they definitely want to hear more about it, but we haven’t locked anything up yet.

ANR-AtT - Any Indy plans?

Larry - Definitely want to do Indy again, Dad says he’s working on something so hopefully we’ll be able to do it, who knows. That’s probably the most amazing thing I’ve done in my career was qualified for Indy last year, definitely hope to do that again. Nothing concrete. It’s just scary right now with a lot of uncertainty.

ANR-AtT - AJ Foyt IV is pretty loyal to your Dad, he chooses to stay with him even with other offers, do you share the same amount of loyalty?

Larry - Yeah, I definitely made that decision when I went to Cup with him. I definitely had other options in the Busch Series, I could have stayed there but at the end of the day, without the help he gave me I wouldn’t have had a chance to get there and I just, loyalty is something that’s kind of instilled in us, I think, one of the big things in our family so, I definitely wasn’t going to leave him. Anthony, same thing. The good thing about Anthony is that he’s young. He’s got time, he doesn’t have to worry about where he’s gonna go and there’s already a lot of big teams on the stock car side that want to test him, he’s got a lot of people looking out for him, I‘m not worried about him, he’s gonna be fine.

ANR-AtT - The double………..in the event that you had a Cup ride, would you ever attempt the double?

Larry - I would love to! I’ve done it without racing in it, I haven’t missed an Indy 500 my whole life, so when Anthony was starting his first, I was racing the 600 that night and Harrah’s flew me up and let me watch the start of Indy, so I did the double, just didn’t race in the first part of it! I would though, they’ve changed the start time of the Indy, whew, it would be really tough now to do it, I hate that, it was something I was really hoping to do on a yearly basis, but ……….

ANR-AtT - Aren’t Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon lobbying to get that changed?

Larry - Two guys versus the networks? I think the network is going to win………..I think TV has pushed the trends on racing more than anything has lately, ‘cause I think it’s a show and we got the ratings. It was really disappointing to see that, the double now being impossible.

ANR-AtT - Do you think there is anyone out there that can surpass your Dad’s Record?

Larry - Mario Andretti has won the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500, but Dad was the only one that has won the Triple Crown, the Indy 500, 24 hours of Lemans, and Daytona 500. I doubt anyone will ever do that, no way. Stewart and AJ go at each other all the time, I think Stewart told AJ the other day “Hey, I’ve won a championship, I’m still pretty young in NASCAR, what’d you ever do?” and AJ told him ‘Well, you haven’t won Indy yet and you haven’t won Daytona yet, call me later”, they’re always on each other…………I never realized as a kid growing up how amazing it was what my Dad had accomplished, I had no idea, couldn’t even fathom it, till you start racing yourself and you realize, OK, this isn’t easy, he made it look easy a lot of times and it certainly isn’t easy, so I think now, and everyone talks about it, equipment is such a big deal from back then, it was so much more race car driver back then. Now days, you have be a good driver but you have to have the equipment too, everything just has to fall into place, it’s so competitive that I don’t think a lot of those records will be broken.

ANR-AtT - Is there any one particular driver that you emulate, besides your dad?

Larry - I’ve been lucky to meet guys growing up that I always admired, one of the first guys that I admired was Robby Gordon, I wasn’t even racing him yet, but when he drove Indy cars for my Dad he just had so much raw talent. I just thought that was really cool to watch him throw a car around and I always enjoyed that, so to race against him was pretty neat. I got to spot for Kenny Brack for a few years and he was a driver that just truly set goals and achieved them and was very professional. I think I learned from him too, he was probably one of my favorite drivers to watch.

ANR-AtT - There just isn’t much information out there on you. What are some of the most important things you want people to know about you?

Larry - People that don’t know me think I’ve just been given everything in my racing career and AJ just gave me cars to drive and whatnot……he fought me about racing very hard when I was younger. I had to do a lot on my own; I did most of my Go Kart stuff on my own, towed my own trailer and worked on my own Kart. I did it all myself because he didn’t want me racing at all and he didn’t really start supporting me, I mean, part of his deal was if you graduate from college then maybe I’ll support you if you still want to do this, but people don’t realize that I’m here everyday and I work everyday and I wasn’t given a silver spoon as far as race cars. I think fans that really know my story know that about me. I wish people knew how much hard work I actually put in, it wasn’t all given to me. My first job was janitor at the race shop cleaning the toilets! My mom had to actually get me my first Go Kart. Dad was still very against it. He enjoys it now, I think with my success and when I won a state championship in Go Karts, he started to actually enjoy it, in a sense. Then when Anthony came in, he got a younger start, he’s (AJ) really had a lot of fun working with Anthony down in Texas. AJ felt that for a young American, NASCAR was the place to be and that’s why he made me move out here.

ANR-AtT - What’s the next race we might see you in?

Larry - There’s probably things I could go drive, I am tired of struggling and the way I struggled. It really hurt my career to go and try to run Cup on a quarter of what everyone else is running and I learned my lesson and I will not do it again. I would rather never drive a race car again then go do that. It’s so hard on yourself, it really beats you down. Then, I owe so much of my confidence to Ray Evernham, I was ready to quit and he said why don’t you just come drive one of my cars. They needed a 600 mile engine test at Kentucky. I went and drove the car and I came in and asked if we were running ok and Sammy Johns started laughing and said “you’re hauling ass” and that’s when Ray gave me that car at the end of last year at Homestead. That year we just struggled, struggled struggled and Ray said he wanted me to try one of his cars in the race and still we qualified 12th, finished on the lead lap, I mean, I didn’t do anything different. It was much easier than how hard I had been driving to run last all year. That’s when I realized just how important equipment was and I had almost quit racing and said, well, maybe this isn’t for me. I guess I can’t do this. What’s tough for me is that you get labeled, I mean that’s the only race I’ve driven that wasn’t for my dad. I’m already labeled; I think that’s the hardest part. They all say that “….. he just wrecks a lot”, I mean, that’s just the facts of it.

That’s why if I get back in a car it’s got to be good, I would love to get into Harvick’s Busch Car or Robby’s Busch Car, anything like that, Michael Waltrip’s Busch car, anything that was half-way decent where if I had a chance to, I could showcase my abilities. I would love to do that. I’m not a great salesman of myself. I’m not a guy that’s cocky about myself, I’ve just never been that way I guess, I’m too humble. But I think when you put a helmet on, you can be a different person than you are normally.

Fan Questions

Pets – NO

Do you name your race cars? Not too much, I haven’t found one I like enough yet.

Favorite Junk food – Chips and Chili Con Queso, homemade

Chocolate Chip or Chunky Monkey Ice Cream – Coffee Ice Cream

Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan – Who’s Lindsay Lohan? I met Britney and she wasn’t very nice. I was actually voted the Hottest Bachelor in North Carolina, in 2003. A fan entered me. When that happened, everyone kept asking me if I was dating Britney Spears. Pop singers I really like? Norah Jones I guess….

Backstreet Boys, Brad Paisley or Blue Oyster Cult? – Brad Paisley, never have met him

Crown Royal or Corona? – Oh, depends on where I am

Scarface or Seabiscuit? - Scarface. I’m a big movie guy, if I wasn’t racing I’d probably be a film director

The sun rises and sets on..? – what do other people say? I don’t know, that sounds too philosophical, um………..I don’t know, I really have no idea.


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