Foyt Escapes Serious Injury
August 3, 2007 | 11:43 A.M. EST
Unlike the famed magician, however, Foyt escaped from his watery grave.
"I came awful close this time," he said. "It scared me."
Foyt, 72, cheated death once again in a lifetime chronicled by close escapes. Late Thursday afternoon his bulldozer plunged sideways into a lake as the bank gave way under the 35,000 lb. machine. He had been working the dirt on the lake’s edge which was about three feet deep at that location, that is, until the bank gave way.
For the man who survived one of the most dangerous periods in motorsports (although not without some telltale scars) in his 40-year career as a race driver, Foyt has been sorely tempting fate as a rancher lately.
Two years ago on August 6th, Foyt was attacked by Africanized killer bees while clearing some brush on another piece of land. With over 200 stingers in his head alone, Foyt came as close to death as he ever did in a race car. Reminiscing at a press dinner this past winter he said, "I was probably the most scared in my life. I was like, ‘Just finish it off.’"
This most recent accident ranked right up there on his personal fear factor scale.
"It was such a helpless feeling when that dirt broke away and I was going down and down," said Foyt, who estimates the bulldozer dropped upside down into the lake about 15 feet.
"The dozer had a steel cage on it which probably saved my life," said Foyt, "because without it, the dozer would have crushed me. But the cage also made it hard to escape. I had to crawl through the front of it and it was hard to do under water with all my clothes on and with my bum legs and all. I’ll be honest, I was panicked a little bit.
"If I hadn’t made it to the top of the dozer, they would never have found me because it was completely under water. I didn’t want to swim to the bank ‘cause it was covered in vines and steep and I was already out of breath from getting out of the dozer. I knew I’d get too tired trying to haul my big butt outta there. But as I was calling for help, I saw a water moccasin [snake] swim by. I started splashing like hell then. After about 15 minutes someone heard me and stopped to help."
Once on land, Foyt, who did not go to the hospital, spent the next four hours trying to get his bulldozer out of the lake. Three wreckers later, the dozer was finally pulled out. He plans to have it trucked to his race shop today.
Foyt won’t have too much time to contemplate his latest brush with death. Later today he will be jetting to Michigan where his ABC Supply Racing team will compete in what may be the final IndyCar race at Michigan International Speedway Sunday. Englishman Darren Manning is driving the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda which currently sits 13th in the point standings.
It’s been an eventful year for the famed Houstonian who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in Indy car racing. Last month, his Austin lake house on Lake Travis was flooded - a result of the heavy rains that plagued central Texas. The damage was limited to the lower level as the waters receded before getting into the main living quarters of the nearly 9,000 square foot house.
"There’s never a dull moment in my life," said Foyt.