Racin’ News: Recuperating A.J. Foyt To Miss St. Pete

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, March 26 2011

A.J. Foyt will take the weekend off after having surgery last Friday. (Photo courtesy of the IndyCar Series)


In racin’ news today, Saturday, March 26:

(In this package – A.J. Foyt to miss St. Pete; Davey Hamilton to driver for Dreyer & Reinbold; Dan Wheldon gets ride for the 500; Marcus Gronholm flying high. This package will be updated as news develops today.)

Larry Foyt will be calling the shots this weekend for the ABC Supply team at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg while his father A.J. Foyt recovers from a procedure to insert a stent in a main artery Friday.

Doctors had discovered a more than 95 percent blockage in the artery after an angiogram was performed on Monday.

“It was touch and go according to Dr. Civitello,” Foyt said last evening after the procedure. “They had a full surgical team on board with the surgeon (Dr. O.H. Frazier, an internationally renowned heart surgeon who trained under Dr. Denton Cooley) who did my wife Lucy’s triple bypass, prepared to do a bypass if the stent didn’t work. Their challenge was that they had to go through several stents first to get to the blockage and then get the artery opened enough to take the stent. I watched on the machine while they did it. After what seemed an awful long time, my doctor stepped back and said ‘We got it A.J.’ I can’t tell you how happy and relieved I was. I think he was too.”

Foyt spent the previous weekend working on his track hoe at his ranch in Del Rio much to his doctors’ dismay. “Well, I had some things I wanted to get finished in case I was laid up for a while,” Foyt explained.

Dr. Andrew Civitello, a leading interventional cardiologist, performed the procedure at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, home of the Texas Heart Institute, a pioneer in innovative approaches to cardiovascular disease.

Foyt is expected to be released from the hospital later today with strict orders to “take it easy for the next three or four days.”

He will be watching as Vitor Meira and the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda team compete in tomorrow’s race which will be televised live on ABC-TV starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced Saturday that it has added HP as the primary sponsor of the No.21 IZOD IndyCar Series car that will campaign racing veteran Davey Hamilton.

The Idaho native will pilot the team’s third entry for three races this season including the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, the Texas Motor Speedway event and the season finale in Las Vegas.

HP will also serve as a season-long associate-level sponsor on the No. 22 DRR entry with Justin

Davey Hamilton has landed a ride with Dreyer & Reinbold. (Photo courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series)

Wilson in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.

“We are excited to be partnering with HP and Davey Hamilton again on this program for three events, as well with Justin Wilson on the No. 22,” said Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Co-Owner, Dennis Reinbold. “This is just another example of how Dreyer & Reinbold Racing continues to grow.  Our off-season improvements with research and development and our investments commercially will hopefully help us achieve significant results all year.

“Not only will fans see the HP brand on the track, our team and HP are committed to a strategic technology and engineering alliance as well.”

HP and Hamilton will be returning to DRR for a second time. The duo first joined the team back in 2009 when they ran together during the Indianapolis 500.  This time around, Hamilton will also compete at Texas Motor Speedway and in Las Vegas for the season finale. The 48-year old will pilot the No. 21 HP livery for all three races featuring the new HP campaign “Everybody On”.

“It’s good to be back with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing,” stated Hamilton.  “We had a great relationship in the past and after a brief absence, it’s nice to be back with the team and to have HP with us as well.  I have high hopes for the three races and I’m very excited about the possibilities.  I’m also very excited about HP not only sponsoring me, but that they will be a sponsor on Justin’s car for the season.  I look forward to being teammates with Justin. We’re hoping to be able to give each other a lot of information to further the team’s growth and to get a victory.”

This will mark Hamilton’s 10th Indy 500 as he will attempt to qualify for the May 29th race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He finished 9th in 2007, 14th in 2008, 29th in 2009 and, unfortunately, last year he was taken out on the first lap and didn’t get to complete the race.  His best finish over eight starts in the Indianapolis 500 came in 1998 when he finished fourth.  He also finished sixth in 1997.

Bryan Herta Autosport co-owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey today announced that 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon will drive the team’s

Dan Wheldon to drive in the 500. (RacinToday file photo by Tony Bush)

Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry in the historic 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on May 29.

“Steve and I are thrilled to have a driver of Dan’s caliber partner with us for the Indianapolis 500,” said Herta, who himself made five starts at Indianapolis as a driver, including two as a teammate with Wheldon. “It goes without saying that Dan knows his way around the Speedway. He has achieved a tremendous amount of success there and all of us have high expectations going into the month of May. As a former teammate of Dan’s, I appreciate what he brings to the table with his professionalism, determination and attitude. I couldn’t be more excited. We have a strong and experienced team in place and our goal is to give Dan everything he needs to capture his second Indianapolis 500 win.”

Wheldon, 32, hails originally from Emberton, England, but has been based – and winning races – in the United States since 1999. He now makes his home in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he and wife Susie celebrated the birth of their second son, Oliver (brother to 2-year-old Sebastian), on March 19.

Wheldon’s career thus far has been highlighted by “The Double” in 2005 when, as a teammate with Herta at Andretti Green Racing, he won both the Indianapolis 500 – becoming the first Englishman since Graham Hill in 1966 to hoist the coveted Borg-Warner Trophy – and the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. In fact, Wheldon’s record at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been nothing short of remarkable as he has finished in the top four five times in the last seven races with back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010 with Panther Racing.

“I’m really excited to be joining Bryan Herta Autosport for the centennial running of the Indianapolis 500 and I’m excited to announce this news in my hometown of St. Pete,” said Wheldon. “Bryan has been a friend – and a teammate – for a long time now and because of that I have the utmost confidence in him and his team to provide me with the tools to win my second Indy 500.”

Two-time world rally champion Marcus Gronholm dominated the opening event of the Global RallyCross Championship winning the Super Rally event in the Best Buy Ford Fiesta at Irwindale Speedway.

Gronholm, the fastest qualifier for the SuperRally, did not lose a heat in his march to victory.

“It wasn’t an easy start with the rain and learning the track, but things cleared up and it went

Marcus Gronholm gets air at Global RallyCross Championship at Irwindale.

pretty good for us and we won,” said Gronholm. “My Fiesta was really really good today and hopefully that will continue for the RallyCross. Tomorrow is the main event and the racing changes with multiple cars running at the same time. I said earlier that I am having some difficulty with the start of the heat and I need to improve that or else I will have four cars in front of me and that is a big problem.”

The Gronholm victory capped off a successful first day for Ford Racing and the Fiesta as 19-year-old Dillon Van Way claimed the GRC 2WD SuperRally in his Ford Focus.

The two winners were joined on the podium by ROCKSTAR Ford Fiesta driver Tanner Foust who settled for third after a mechanical issue sidelined him in the semi-final round after the Fiesta had won the first race of the best of three match. Swedish RallyCross import Pontus Tidemand finished fourth after falling to his Fiesta teammates in the semi-finals (Gronholm) and consolation race (Foust).

The Global RallyCross Championship will return to the Irwindale Speedway for the RallyCross main event today.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, March 26 2011
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