2007 Preview: A-J- Foyt Enterprises
March 19, 2007 | 1:35 P.M. EST
- Driver: Darren Manning (Car No. 14)
- Team Director: Larry Foyt
- Race Engineer: Len Paskus
- Chief Mechanic: Pat Jordan
2006 Rear View Mirror
Drivers: Felipe Giaffone and Jeff Bucknum (one car)
Points: 17th by Giaffone (eight races), 20th by Bucknum (seven races)
Best Overall Race Finish: Fifth by Giaffone at Watkins Glen
As A.J. Foyt celebrates his 50th anniversary season in Indy car racing this season, he’d like nothing more than to see his team return to prominence.
The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner turned to his son Larry to help him lead his team’s return, serving as team director. Under his leadership the team participated in all the preseason tests for the first time in several years and brought on veteran race engineer Len Paskus to oversee preparations for new driver Darren Manning.
Still, the younger Foyt knows that it will take baby steps to get back to team’s championship-winning ways.
"I’d like to see us be a top-10 car every week," Foyt said. "I know that’s hard to do, but when you can do that, then you can start looking at top fives and after that you’re in position to win races. I know it won’t be overnight that we’re going to be winning races, but we’re doing the things we need to do and be competitive."
Manning, who last drove for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005, returns to the series optimistic that he can make the team a contender on road courses and on the ovals by season’s end.
"I think top 10s are pretty realistic," Manning said. "Even on the superspeedways, once you're in the top 10, you can see how close it is. The lap times are so close, probably. It's just going to be closer than ever."
Manning has already begun to develop a relationship with his car owner and engineer, spending much of the off-season with the team at its Waller, Texas-headquarters.
"Darren and A.J. and the engineer are already gelling pretty well," Larry Foyt said. "If we keep showing improvement, then that shows we’re headed into the right direction."