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In Part Two, we’re forced to take on Super Tex and A.J. Foyt Racing.
After years of running in the back with Coyne’s cars, AJ Foyt Racing also needs to improve in a big way. Super Tex‘s admonishments of his former driver and still grandson A.J. IV from years ago spring to mind. “You’re so slow you’re gonna to get run over out there!” and “you’re gettin’ beat by a girl!” epitomize the team’s long standing performance struggles.
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A.J.’s now eighty one years young and his son Larry took over day to day operations of the team several years ago. Therefore, it’s really on Larry rather than the first four time winner of the Indy 500, although – and we dislike writing it – A.J. shares in the blame too since it’s his name on the transporter. The team needs to up its game in a Texas-sized manner.
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With wins as scarce as intelligent NASCAR fans, Foyt’s team has become an embarrassment. The group’s humiliatingly bad display in last year’s Indy 500 really grabbed our goat, driving home the point that despite adding a second full time car as well as other pieces, the team still hasn’t managed to improve. The sport’s grandest race couldn’t have gone worse for the ornery octogenarian, as the third car driven by Canadian Alex Tagliani failed even to roll off with the field, mucking up the parade laps and delaying the start.
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Foyt’s longest tenured driver Takuma Sato has crashed out of three Indy 500s alone – not counting his spin in 2013 – and further screwed up the Greatest Spectacle’s start. Sadly, Sato was in fact “dumb enough” as Sage Karam put it to cause a three-wide first lap, first turn pileup. Again quoting the twenty year old Karam on the incident, Sato “needs to wake up.” What’s worse, Sato’s alarmingly crashy condition, which we call “Sato-itis,” seems to be contagious and spreading to his teammates.
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Englishman Jack Hawksworth got in on the expensive fun last year too, crashing out toward the end of the 500 and thus affecting the outcome of the race. Like with Coyne, more careful and thoughtful hiring would help this Texas based team immensely, as would driver coaching and development – particularly if they continue to insist upon the same lineup in the future. We’ve been advocating new drivers at Foyt for years now, which is a nice way of saying Sato should have been fired a long time ago.
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In part three, we take a good, hard look at Michael Andretti‘s decisions at Andretti Autosport.