Young Foyt Wins IRIPS Race
July 7, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
A.J. Foyt IV, the 18-year-old grandson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, won the inaugural Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series race July 7 at Kansas Speedway in the No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti.
Actor-driver Jason Priestley finished second in the No. 7 HomeMed Pharmacy entry, 2.2197 seconds behind Foyt. Cory Witherill finished third after starting last in the 12-car field in the No. 92 WSA Healthcare entry.
"That was a real good race, a lot of good drivers out there, good wheel-to-wheel action and good for the fans," A.J. Foyt IV said. "Hopefully we can get this series going for the next race and next season."
Foyt's victory came 21 years after his grandfather's final Indy-style victory in June 1981 at Pocono, Pa.
"He did a hell of a job," A.J. Foyt said of his grandson. "I was very proud of him. He raced hard, and it was really tight racing. He did great."
Foyt, from Hockley, Texas, led 63 of the 67 laps after starting from the pole on the 1.5-mile oval. But the race was a tight affair throughout.
Indy Racing League veteran Ronnie Johncox stalked Foyt for the lead at the midway point of the race and nosed past Foyt to lead Laps 37-38 and 43-44. While Foyt and Johncox dueled for the lead during those laps, Priestley, Arie Luyendyk Jr. and USAC short-track star Aaron Fike closed to within a second of the front.
But that spirited chase for the lead among five cars ended on Lap 47 when Johncox, Fike and Luyendyk crashed in Turn 4, eliminating them from the race.
The right-front wheel on Luyendyk's No. 5 entry touched the left rear of Johncox's No. 8 Rev. 1 Racing Special entry between Turns 3 and 4, with both cars spinning. Johncox's twirling car collected the No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing entry driven by Fike, and all three cars hit the outside retaining wall in Turn 4. None of the drivers was hurt.
Witherill lost part of his front wing during the incident but still managed to drive to third at the finish.
In another accident, Matthew Halliday suffered a concussion and broken left wrist in a crash in Turn 2 on Lap 3. Halliday was transported by air to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., and is awake, alert and talking.
The next event for the new Indy Racing League development series is July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway.