Just another notch in gun for legendary ‘Super Tex’
Indianapolis – Like an aging gunfighter, A J Foyt added another notch to his legendary career record Sunday by becoming the first man to win the Indianapolis 500 four times.
The man called “Super Tex” drove his car into Victory Lane after a grueling 200 laps in the oppressive Indiana heat and drawled happily, “I still don’t believe it. It’s been a long time coming.”
The coveted fourth triumph came in a thrilling duel with Gordon Johncock, who gave up the lead and the race to Foyt, when his engine broke with 16 laps remaining.
“I was just trying to pace myself, still get fuel mileage and wait and see what happens,” Foyt said. “I wasn’t taking any chances. I pitted on green, then it went to yellow (the caution light) and Gordy came in. I said ‘Oh God, it ain’t our year again.’
“Then Gordy and I got to going at each other again and I figured I’d just wait for the last 10 laps and go for broke,” the Houston, Texas, native said.
Foyt, who now has a record 58 victories in championship racing events, won his first three Indy races in his first 10 years of racing here — 1961, 1964 and 1967. It then took him 10 years to win the one that ended his record-book deadlock with oldtime drivers Mauri Rose, Louis Meyer and Wilbur Shaw.
“I just can’t believe it yet, myself,” Foyt said. “But that was the most low key I’ve ever been for this race. I tried to keep it on a scale with all the other 500-mile races.
“I just made up my mind before we came here this month I wasn’t going to get keyed up whether I went 20 or 200 laps. I wasn’t going to let it get to me like it has the last 20 years. I made myself relax,” he explained happily.
Foyt, red in the face and soaking with perspiration from the long afternoon in his orange Foyt-Coyote, was asked if the heat bothered him.
“Naw,” he said, “it was beautiful out there.” Then, grinning, he added: “It was a little warm, though.”
Foyt, who earlier this year talked about possible retirement, wasn’t ready to call it quits yet. Asked if he would go for a fifth Indy victory, he said: “Why not?