A.J.: Up Close

Accomplishment he’s proudest of:

“I’m proud to be the first four-time winner of Indy and also that I’ve won Daytona [500] and LeMans [24 Hour race].”

First job:

“After working for my father, I worked as a mechanic at Jim Hall Sports Cars—they had Jaguars, MGs and Triumphs. I worked six days a week for $75, started at 7:30 am and didn’t get off until 6 pm. I did a lot of valve jobs, I remember that.”

Favorite music:

"Country-western, that's the only kind of music there is."

Favorite food:

”Now I like a good steak, rib-eye. It used to be chili ‘cause that’s what I could afford years ago.”

Favorite drink:

"Iced tea"

Oldest thing in his refrigerator:

"Peanut butter"

Favorite race track:

“Indianapolis, I always enjoyed the superspeedways because I liked to go fast. Going wheel-to-wheel with someone, it’d have to be a half-mile dirt track in a sprint car, I always liked that.”

Preferred wheels:

"I enjoy driving a pick-up truck, you can use them for so many things."

Biggest fear:

“When I was driving race cars, it used to be fire. Now it’s African Killer bees.”

Biggest part of his job:

“I enjoy being with sponsors who still believe in me and being able to produce for them. Winning, I’ve been there and done that, and now I want to win for them.”

Toughest part of his job:

“Training people to do things the right way.”

Favorite color:

"I like Poppy Red [ or Coyote red]; on my personal cars it's black."

His answering machine message:

"Leave your name and number. I might return your call."

How he spends his spare time:

“Go to my ranches and be by myself, work on my bulldozer.”

What he likes most about himself:

“That I’m just A.J. and I’ll continue to be that way til I die. I’m not a phony and I‘ve never forgotten where I came from.”

Anything he wishes he could stop:

“Hurtin’, especially my ankles.”

Best advice his mother ever gave him:

“Stay out of trouble.”

Greatest influence on his life:

"My daddy"

Strongest childhood memory:

“When I outran the cops and lied to my daddy about it. He found out and punished me for one year where I had to report to his shop right after school and I couldn’t drive my car. Even at Christmas, my mother and grandmother pleaded with him to let me off and he wouldn’t. It really impressed me not to get in trouble anymore.”

Most thrilling experience:

“Qualifying for my first Indy 500—it’s what every driver lived for and it is still one of the biggest thrills of my career.”

What you admire in others:

“People who are just themselves, win, lose or draw. I don’t have any respect for phonies.”