Foyts Day At The Beechler
January 31, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Beechler joined A.J. Foyt’s team at Indianapolis last season and remained with the team in the No. 11 for the duration of the season. He finished in the Top 10 six times, led four laps of competition and nearly came away with a win in a close race at Kansas City in which he finished third. Despite missing the first four races of the season, Beechler finished 15th in the points.
“Last year, I came to Indy looking for a ride,” Beechler said. “When A.J. hired me back then, it was just a one-race deal, but it turned into a great deal for me. I’m thrilled to be driving the Harrah’s No.14 car and working with A.J. and the team on a full-time basis.
“Harrah’s is a fun sponsor. However, they take their business seriously and they take our business seriously, which is a great combination for a race team. We are going to have a good time this year.”
Eliseo Salazar is also returning to the team, but he will drive the No. 11 this season. He has a new sponsor in Banco de Chile, the largest bank in his homeland of Chile.
“I believe we will have a really strong season in the IRL this year,” said Foyt, whose team will test their Dallara-Chevys at Phoenix International Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We’ve worked with Eliseo for two years now and with Donnie for most of last year. We know what they want and they know what I expect.”
Salazar finished fifth in points in 2001, his second straight season in the Top 5. He finished fourth in 2000.
“I believe strongly in continuity,” Salazar said. “And when you’re working with a legend like A.J. Foyt, you can never stop learning from him. Hopefully, we can capitalize on our last two years of working together. I believe we will.”
The team begins its 2002 season March 2 in the Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2. Salazar finished third in the race last season; Beechler did not compete at the track.
Salazar, of Santiago, Chile, calls Miami his U.S. hometown.