2009 IRL Team Reports: A.J. Foyt Racing

IRL Team reports for the 2009 IRL season

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Postby mlittle » Sat Sep 19, 2009 12:13 am

Ryan Hunter-Reay: ABC Supply No. 14 Dallara/Honda/Firestone

* Ryan Hunter-Reay on Twin Ring Motegi: "I'm really looking forward to getting back to Japan--I had a good time there last year. It was my first time to Motegi. It's a fun track because it's like no other track we go to. It's a big superspeedway-like corner on one side and a short track corner on the other and it's just fun racing there. You definitely have to drive on the tighter end of the track [as opposed to flat-footing it] so it sets up for some passes. It's not dead easy in traffic. For a race car, we need a car where the front's working really well and the rear is staying under us over the bumps in turn two. The Japanese fans are very passionate about the race. They are also very nice and welcoming. We fly a long way to race there and they're very appreciative so it's definitely well-worth making the trip."

* Larry Foyt will be the race strategist in Japan. With his father opting to stay home, young Foyt will be calling the shots this weekend. However, it won't be the first time since A.J. didn't stay at the track last year when the race was postponed to the following day due to torrential rain. In that event, Darren Manning started 12th and finished eighth.

* A.J. Foyt and Vitor Meira will be watching from home this weekend: Both A.J. Foyt and Vitor Meira will be watching the Indy Japan 300 from the comfort of their homes this weekend, marking the first time that both men will miss the event since they began attending. Foyt's first race was in 2003 and Meira's was in 2004. Foyt decided to follow his doctor's advice and not make the trip after suffering an infection in his leg last month from which he has not completely recovered. The 14-plus hour flight from Houston to Narita could make him susceptible to thrombosis so despite his desire to go, he is listening to his doctor. "I wanted to go to Japan and felt like I needed to go but my doctor didn't think it was a good idea because of the possibility of blood clots from the long flight," he said. If you think A.J. has gone soft by following his doctor's orders, don't worry. Foyt also said, "My leg is still pretty swollen and they want me to go into the hospital to get it treated and keep it elevated but I won't do that. I'd go crazy lying around in there for 4 to 5 days! Besides, I have too much to do."

* Vitor Meira to test at Indy: Meira will return to the cockpit of the No. 14 ABC Supply car when the Foyt team tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway September 30th. The test will be Meira's first time back behind the wheel of an Indy car since he broke his back when he and Raphael Matos crashed in the Indianapolis 500 in May. "We're not going for any track records, I just want to give him some seat time so he can adjust to being back in a race car after being out for so long," said Foyt. Foyt also indicated that Meira will not be competing in the final race of the season. Foyt said, "I don't have the people to put together the proper effort for both Ryan and Vitor. When I made the deal with Ryan, I had told him he'd have a ride for the rest of the season because I didn't really know if Vitor would be ready. And even though Vitor has been cleared to drive, the more I thought about it, I don't think having his first race back being at Miami is the best thing for Vitor. There's a lot of risk and not that much to be gained. We want to get a good start on 2010 with Vitor and do more testing over the winter so I think it's in all of our interests to have him focus on next year."

* Past performance in Japan: In his only start at the track, Hunter-Reay started 10th and finished seventh last year. The Foyt team's best finish came last year when Manning finished eighth and their best start was ninth in 2006 with Felipe Giaffone.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:53 am

Motegi: AJ Foyt Racing race report
Racing series INDYCAR
Date 2009-09-19

Hunter-Reay's Race Ends Early in Japan

MOTEGI, JAPAN September 19--Driving the No. 14 ABC Supply car, Ryan Hunter-Reay got off to a good start in the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi, however the finish was anything but.

Starting 15th, Hunter-Reay was running between the 13th to 11th position throughout the race. The crew made adjustments to the car on the pit stops. Moreover, he had to pit early in the fuel window because of a leak in his fuel cell, so he was always the first to pit which put him at a disadvantage.

On lap 158 of the 200-lapper, he spun coming through turn four and the car backed hard into the wall and whipped around with the left side, coming to a halt at the exit of turn four. Hunter-Reay was able to get out of the car under his own power. He escaped with some minor abrasions to his right knee.

"We had a decent start as I passed a couple cars on the first few laps," said Hunter-Reay. "We started with way too much push in turns 3 and 4, so on the first stop we added some front wing, which gave us more front grip at turn four but made the car loose on exits. There were a few times I nearly lost the ABC Supply car in turns 2 and 4 but was able to save it.

"We were also handicapped all day to a fuel cell leak that made us pit 4-5 laps earlier than most of the rest of the field," he added. "With all considered, we had an ok day going. On the last set of stops I had already put 2-3 laps on my tires as Kanaan, who we were fighting with for position, was coming out of the pits on cold tires. He entered turn 3 low and I entered high to set up a pass at the exit of turn. As he pushed wide at turn four I kept the car as low as possible and went back to power early to get the run out, but the rear immediately came around. It was a long day in the car, I got loose a few too many times and it finally bit me. It's a shame because I really enjoy racing at this track in front of the Japanese crowds. It's been a pretty tough year, but we're determined to end on a high note in Homestead."

Hunter-Reay was credited with 21st place.

Scott Dixon beat his teammate Dario Franchitti to win his fifth race of the season and take over the points lead. The task was made easier when points leader Ryan Briscoe hit the inside retaining wall exiting the pits midway through the race. The impact damaged his front suspension which had to be replaced. He rejoined the race and eventually placed 18th and eight points behind Dixon. However, a win in the season finale would give Briscoe the title.

The final race of the season is at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 10th. The twilight race will be televised by Versus starting at 4:00 p.m. ET.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:54 am

Vitor Meira's Indy Test Results? All Positive!

INDIANAPOLIS Sept. 30, 2009 -- Snug in his No. 14 ABC Supply Indy car, Vitor Meira took to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time since his horrific-looking crash in the Indianapolis 500 in May.

"It feels really good to be back," said Meira who sustained two broken vertebra when he crashed with Raphael Matos entering turn one on lap 174. "I can't deny that I was a little bit apprehensive coming in here today. It wasn't a normal test day for me but now it's all good.

"Everything that I'm supposed to feel, I'm feeling so I'm happy about that. That's what I was most concerned about because you don't really know what you have mentally since you can't simulate the conditions out there. You can train as much as you want but you can't simulate the car running so I was a bit apprehensive on that but now all the questions are answered."

Meira ran a total of 65 laps with a top speed of 222.2mph but his team owner A.J. Foyt was not concerned about speed.

"We came here to run laps not set track records," said Foyt. "It's important to get back in the car as soon as possible. That's what I used to try to do to make sure you even really want to do this even though you are telling yourself you do. A lot of times, it's like a racehorse, once they get operated on they never seem to come back to their former status. With Vitor, I've seen he's right back to where he was before the wreck so we're real happy and he's real happy. So that was the biggest thing was to get him back in the saddle."

The Foyt team will not run two cars in the final race of the season as they prefer to use those resources toward preparing for next year when Meira will again drive the No. 14 ABC Supply car for Foyt.

"We were going to run Vitor and Ryan but I felt this was more important than running Vitor in the final race of the year," said Foyt. "I knew I couldn't put two crews together to give him a fair shake and I didn't want to cheat our other driver Ryan Hunter-Reay cause I made a deal with him that we'd run him through the season. We're going to do as much testing as we can with Vitor in the off season to prepare for 2010.

"This season has been one of our toughest and you're going to have seasons like that, you have to take the good with the bad, but we're anxious to get started on next year and make it one of our best."

Hunter-Reay, who gave the team its best finish of the season with his fourth place run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, will drive the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda car in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday, Oct. 10th. The race will be televised on Versus starting at 4pm ET.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:54 am

VITOR MEIRA CLARIFIES HIS UPCOMING NASCAR TRUCK SERIES TEST

Vitor Meira will test a NASCAR Camping World Series truck at Rockingham Speedway next week along with fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr. Amid speculation prompted by an article that appeared on www.speedtv.com, Meira wishes to make it clear that he is not contemplating a move to NASCAR now.

"I plan to run in the IndyCar Series as long as it possible to do so," said Meira. "I love racing the Indy cars and I hope to do it for as long as I am able. The opportunity to test a truck along with Nelson Piquet Jr. came up and it sounded like fun. I thought I might be able to give Nelson some pointers on running an oval because this will be his first time on an oval track. Before I agreed to do it, I asked both A.J. and Larry Foyt about it, and they gave their permission. It doesn't mean I'm looking to go NASCAR racing now because my priority is racing with A.J.'s team in the IndyCar Series. I've really enjoyed working with A.J., Larry, our sponsor ABC Supply and Honda Racing this year and I want to continue to work with them as long as they want me.

"And we have some unfinished business at Indy."

Meira will be at the IndyCar Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday atop the ABC Supply pit box watching Ryan Hunter-Reay finish out the season in the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Meira tested the No. 14 Indy car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week for his first time back behind the wheel since his accident in the Indy 500 when he sustained two broken vertebrae. Meira will continue testing the No. 14 ABC Supply car over the winter in preparation for the full 2010 season.
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Postby mlittle » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:55 am

Ryan Hunter-Reay: ABC Supply No. 14 Dallara/Honda/Firestone

* Ryan Hunter-Reay on Homestead-Miami Speedway: "The key for Homestead is to minimize the push in turns 3 and 4. That's where most of the teams have a problem and that's where we had a problem when I ran for Team Rahal 18 months ago when we opened the season there. We never really fixed it, we just made it a little less bad. It's not as easy to get around this track as it is the other 1.5 mile ovals. Homestead has its own characteristics to it--definitely not a flat-out, hold-it-to-the-floor track. You get the lack of front grip but then at the exit you have a snap and it gets a little loose so that track brings out the worst in the car sometimes. In the beginning of the race, you'll have side by side racing but then it becomes a bit of a single groove track once the tires start to go away. I'm looking for a top-10 finish; we've had a couple this year and that would be a good way to end the season. The season's been far from straightforward for the team. Those guys worked hard for me all year and I've worked hard for them; and it would be good to get a solid performance in for the entire ABC Supply team."

* Hunter-Reay will do double duty Saturday for a new 'first' at Homestead-Miami Speedway: In addition to driving the Indy car, he will drive the No. 95 Supercar Life Racing/Level 5 Motorsports Riley/BMW in the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series race as teammate to Scott Tucker who owns the team. "I saw this as a very unique challenge," said Hunter-Reay. "I was very interested in working with Bill Riley and the Level 5 Motorsports team and driving for A.J. Foyt on the same weekend. I drove with Bill in two SunTrust 24 Hour races at Daytona and he is going to be running the second Supercar Life Racing DP car this weekend for Scott. My first priority is the IndyCar team. Indycar racing is number one for me, that's my goal, it's where I want to stay and nothing comes before that. But at the same time, the opportunity was offered to do something that nobody has done at that track--racing both the oval and the road course on the same day! I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun this weekend. Hopefully we can come out with two great finishes! I'm doing the best I can to emulate 'A.J. the Ironman'."

* Hunter-Reay will host several Miami Dolphins football players (including linebacker Jason Taylor and rookie running back Lex Hilliard) and cheerleaders at the race Saturday afternoon. The Dolphins are Hunter-Reay's all-time favorite football team. He plans to exchange helmets with linebacker Jason Taylor next week. Hunter-Reay will be a guest of the Dolphins when they play the N.Y. Jets in the Monday Night football game at Land Shark Stadium. This past Tuesday, Hunter-Reay took part in the 11th Annual NFL/United Way Hometown Huddle, a series of volunteer projects implemented on the same day across the country. This year's local Hometown Huddle in Miami focused on the prevention of obesity among special needs children as part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and fitness campaign. About 200 children and young adults with disabilities between the ages of five and 22 from both counties joined Miami Dolphins players and United Way volunteers at the Dolphins' Indoor training facility. Hunter-Reay and the Dolphins players manned a variety of fitness stations, and children and their families got a chance to meet and interact with the athletes, get autographs, enjoy nutritious snacks, get a workout, and learn about the importance of physical fitness. "It was a lot of fun," said Hunter-Reay. "I don't know who was happier being there, me or the kids!"

* Vitor Meira tested the No. 14 ABC Supply car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept.30. It was Meira's first time back in an Indy car since he broke two vertebrae in his back when he crashed with Raphael Matos in the Indy 500. "It feels really good to be back," said Meira. "I can't deny that I was a little bit apprehensive coming in here today. It wasn't a normal test day for me but now it's all good. Everything that I'm supposed to feel, I'm feeling so I'm happy about that. That's what I was most concerned about because you don't really know what you have mentally since you can't simulate the conditions out there. You can train as much as you want but you can't simulate the car running so I was a bit apprehensive on that but now all the questions are answered." Meira will return to the ABC Supply-sponsored No. 14 Indy car for the 2010 season.

* The IndyCar Series autograph session will be held Thursday, Oct. 8th at Macy's in the Dadeland Mall. The drivers will be signing from 6 to 7 pm at the store located at 7535 N. Kendall Drive; Miami, FL.

* Past performance at Homestead: Ryan Hunter-Reay has one start at Homestead-Miami Speedway; he started ninth and finished seventh. The Foyt team has nine starts (fielding two cars in 2002) and has five top-10s, two of which are top-fives. Eliseo Salazar posted the best finish for the team in 2001 with his third place finish.

* The Homestead-Miami Indy 300 will be shown live Saturday, Oct. 10 with coverage on VERSUS starting at 4:00 p.m. ET.
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