In November of 2002, my husband Randy and I went to Race Fans Beachbash in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We spent 7 days and 6 nights with about 14 drivers/media. Larry Foyt was one of the sweetest, most fan friendly drivers there. At the PJ party the third night we were there, Larry came over to me and said, “Your husband is a very good volleyball player”. Earlier that day on the beach, Larry’s black shirt team had a playoff with our (Mike Skinner) green shirt team. We had ended in a tie and each team used their best 6 players for the playoff. This was a big dark room full of people yet Larry found us and paid Randy a compliment, considering that Larry himself was offered a scholarship to play volleyball at collage!
Then 6 months later, Randy and I went to Kentucky Speedway for a Dodge Dealers Autograph signing. Larry’s line was the first one we got in since I had brought a picture of us with Larry in hopes of getting it signed. As we approached the table Larry was looking to his left, reaching for one of his pictures to sign, and I set the picture down in front of him. As soon as he saw it he looked up at Randy and said, “There’s my volleyball player!”. We were so surprised he remembered us. He said “how you guys been!”.
Then he said he hadn’t heard anything about a 2003 Beachbash so I told him that they were working on a “Sea Splash” with a cruise and I wrote the site down on the back of Randy’s Campbell Soup business card. He said thanks and put it in his pocket. Unfortunately Clark Travel decided to try a Dale Jr. cruise for 2003 as well and not enough people signed up for “Sea Splash” so it was cancelled. For 2004 they tried to put one together in Mexico but it was at a bigger place (less chance to spend time with the drivers) and cost more money so people once again weren’t interested. Now for 2005 they are again trying for Mexico (I can’t for the life of me understand why they want to change from the previously sold out 3 years of Beachbash). At Beachbash 2002 we ate, slept, drank, swam, danced, etc. the same place the drivers/media did and interacted with them constantly. At a larger resort that opportunity is much smaller. So if you would like to go to a Race Fans Vacation with Larry Foyt, send an email to Clark-travel and make that request for them to invite Larry. You won’t regret it! He is so very fan friendly. And that smile!! Ohhh that smile!!
~ Debbie Kay Elling
Photos courtesy of Debbie - A picture of Larry playing volley ball
When I met Larry
By Colleen Marie Lynch
On the spur of the moment, my sister, Kelly, and I decided to go to Pocono. We left at 1am on Friday morning, and it was a six hour drive. I drove the entire way while Kelly slept.
We got to the track at about 7:30. After walking around the trailers, we decided to check out the garage area. Kelly went to look at Michael Waltrip's garage while I went to the other end.
I decided on the perfect place for me to stand. It was actually in front of Casey Mears' garage, but Larry's garage was directly to my left, and Mike Skinner's was directly to my right. I could also see some of Steve Park's garage.
I watched the crews for a few hours while they were working on the cars. When it was time for practice, I saw Larry come over to his car. I yelled his name and he looked over, smiled and waved. Then he got in his car.
I found Kelly and we walked out to pit row and found a spot to stand during practice.
Larry came off the track and started coming down pit road. He kept getting slower and slower until he stopped right in front of me and Kelly. We were in pit #35. After he stopped he took off his helmet. He then started coming out of the car. He made eye contact with me and then he slid back in the car. He took off the rest of his HANS device that had gotten caught and he slid out of the car.
When he was out, he came right over to the hood and opened it. He was looking at it for a few minutes when his crew came running over. They asked him what was wrong, and he told them.
They tried to get the car going again, but it wouldn't start. So, Larry helped the crew push it back to the garage. They stopped Larry when they were about to make the turn, and Larry got in and the car started up. They brought it back to the garage to work on it.
Later on, Larry was walking down pit road during qualifying signing autographs. I had a little picture of Larry and Kelly that was taken at the preview in my wallet, so I had him sign that.
He smiled when he saw the picture. I told him, "good luck...again." He looked up and recognized me from before, and he said, "thank you... again!"
He signed Kelly's picture and I asked Kelly to lean in so I could take a picture of them. Larry heard me and he leaned in and smiled. What a sweetheart! :o)
I was standing in line to meet Michael Waltrip at the 2003 Winston Cup Preview when the woman next to me told me that Carl Long was signing autographs with no wait. She said that, if I wanted to go see him, she'd save my spot. So I took her up on her offer.
As I walked down the staircase leading to the autograph table, I saw that it wasn't Carl Long at the bottom of the steps. I didn't know who he was, and there weren't any hero cards around to give me a clue. I watched the driver take a T. Wayne Robinson 2003 Winston Cup Preview card from a small stack, and I paid close attention to the name he signed. Good thing Larry's autograph is legible! = D After he'd signed his name, I said, "Good luck this season, Larry!" He thanked me, and I headed back to my seat.
When I got back to my spot in line, I told the woman that Larry Foyt was over there, not Carl Long. She had me save her spot so she could meet him, and when she came back, I decided to go see Larry again. I'd forgotten my camera the first time, and since there wasn't a line, I knew I could just go down there and get my picture taken with him.
I got to talk with Larry a little bit during my second visit. He is such a sweetheart! That's when I started rooting for him.
I also had a chance to see him again at Pocono that year, after his car broke down on pit road in front of me and my sister. He looked so upset when he got out of the car! He was the first one to pop open the hood and take a look at the engine. When his crew joined him, they started discussing the problem. We didn't want to disrupt them, so we didn't say anything that whole time. As he started walking away, I said hi to him. He smiled at me, and said hi back.
He later returned and greeted fans along pit road. We had the picture from the first time I met him. As soon as he saw it, he looked up at us and smiled. Larry really seems to appreciate his fans! He got to talk with him a little then too, which was cool. Even though his car wasn't doing so hot, he was incredibly friendly. That's one of the things I like about Larry.
~ Kellyanne Lynch [dearjoan]
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