Foyt Wine Down Party Kicks of IndyCar Weekend at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. Aug. 22–The race weekend got off to a festive start as the 5th Annual Foyt Wine Down party was held last evening at Meadowcroft Tasting Room just minutes away from Sonoma Raceway. Friends of Foyt Family Wines along with the AJ Foyt Racing team sponsors and crew members, attended the affair which featured seven different Foyt wines including the No. 61 Pinot Noir, the No. 67 Chardonnay, and the Double Gold winning No. 77 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Guests of ABC Supply and Alfe Heat Treating met winemaker Tom Meadowcroft, racing drivers Takuma Sato and Martin Plowman along with A.J. Foyt.  The guests were also able to sign up to become a member of Club Foyt and receive Foyt wine shipments throughout the year.

Topping off the night, Larry Foyt answered an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and was doused with ice water but not before he mentioned that Foyt Wines would donate $1,000 to ALSA.org. Foyt then nominated the band Chevelle, A.J. Foyt IV, and to everyone’s surprise, his dad A.J. Foyt. Check out Larry Foyt’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The jury’s still out as to whether the family patriarch will accept the challenge or simply donate money and avoid the ice water. Either way, ALSA.org will benefit.

Takuma Sato’s Indy 500 helmet raises over $30,000 for ‘With you Japan’

TOKYO June 23, 2014—How much is a helmet worth? In the ‘With you Japan’ online charity auction, Takuma Sato’s 2014 Indianapolis 500 special edition helmet garnered $15,675 when the bidding closed June 9. The helmet, worn by Sato in this year’s race, was signed by Sato and his team owner A.J. Foyt.

"I am very glad that I became the successful bidder for the auction of the Indy 500 Special Helmet. I appreciate this helmet is a symbol of Takuma and his team's wishes and challenging spirit. I am proud to own this helmet and will continue to support Takuma who keeps challenging even in difficult situations,” said the longtime supporter of Sato who lives in Japan. He asked to remain anonymous.

Also choosing to remain anonymous is the donor who matched the winning bid which brought the total donation to the charity to a whopping $31,350!

"I would like to thank everyone who participated in the charity auction,” said Sato. “It is great news that this auction raised a huge amount for "With you Japan”.  A big congratulations to the successful bidder, and I really appreciate all donors who put in extra contributions.  Japan is still struggling from the effects of the tsunami so with your help, we will continue to support children in a way to have some fun activities and encourage their dreams.”

The “With you Japan” program was founded by Sato in 2011 after the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated the island country’s north eastern coast, killing over 15,000 people and leaving over 300,000 people homeless.

All proceeds raised through the program are provided to ‘With You Japan,’ a Charity started by Takuma Sato to provide hope and inspiration to the children of the affected area of Japan.  ‘With You Japan’ hopes to provide inspiration to help thousands of these children as they move forward with their lives. Further information regarding ‘With You Japan’ can be found at withyoujapan.org.

Respect for Speedway: Plowman Preps for ROP

By Dave Lewandowski

INDIANAPOLIS May 2, 2014--Martin Plowman has competed in the Freedom 100 in 2009 and ’10 and driven the Indy Racing Experience two-seater and Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

So the 26-year-old Indianapolis resident has a healthy understanding of the 2.5-mile racetrack, and he has a healthy respect for it as well, which is why he’s looking forward to the Rookie Orientation Program for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 5.

“I heard Dario (Franchitti) say that when he jumped in the car for the first time during practice that he surprised himself. Even he forgot how quick it was into Turn 1. It’s not something you take lightly,” said Plowman, who will drive the No. 41 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Full-season Verizon Indy Car Series drivers Jack Hawksworth (Bryan Herta Autosport) and Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) will join Plowman and 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing) for the three-phase program required of first-time Indianapolis 500 participants. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who completed his refresher course on the oval April 29 in an Andretti Autosport car, also will get in more laps.

Real-time Timing & Scoring of the morning and afternoon sessions is available on www.indycar.com. The track is open for spectator viewing from the South Terrace Grandstand and Turn 2 viewing mounds.

The Speedway opens for full-scale practice May 11, with qualifications May 17-18. The race is May 25.

A.J. Foyt on A.J. Watson's Passing

INDIANAPOLIS May 12, 2014--Master mechanic and race car designer and builder extraordinaire A.J. Watson passed away today at age 90. Foyt drove and won with Watson-designed and built  roadsters in the 60s. Eleven of his 67 victories came in either Watson or Watson-Trevis roadsters, including his first two Indy 500s (1961 and 1964). Foyt drove Watson’s sprint car in 1960 winning the USAC Eastern Division Sprint Car championship title that year. Foyt continued to drive Watson’s sprint car off and on through 1968, winning his final race for Watson at Ascot in Gardena, Calif. in 1967.

A.J. Foyt: “I was very good friends with A.J. Watson and his wife Joyce. He picked me up to drive his sprint car years back. We worked right there at his house, took the 220 Offy out and built the Chevrolet. He was a pioneer. He came out against Kurtis and built the Watson roadster and I was lucky enough to win with it.   In his day right here at the Indy 500, there was nobody that was going to beat the three W’s: Watson, Wilke and Ward.

“It’s hard to believe he’s gone. I’m just glad I was able to go see him on his 90th birthday [May 8]. We did talk about old times. He had a picture of me and him with his sprint car on the wall and I teased him, ‘A.J., were we ever that young?’ He said, ‘It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?’”

For Robin Miller's Tribute to Watson, click here: http://racer.com/latest-stories/item/103505-appreciation-a-j-watson-1924-2014.

IndyCar Series Open Test Report – Barber Motorsports Park

LEEDS, Ala. March 18, 2014—Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team left Barber Motorsports Park satisfied with the two-day IndyCar “Spring Training” Open Test. The No. 14 ABC Supply Honda was fourth quickest of the 22 cars attending.

“It’s been a very productive two days,” said Sato. “We’ve been unlucky in terms of the weather—it was wet in the morning so we didn’t run and the afternoon was cold so that won’t replicate for the race weekend. Nevertheless we did a lot of the test program that we wanted to do and saw how the car reacted. It was very positive performance-wise and for the feedback. It’s been a good preparation and we are ready to go to St. Petersburg.”

With temperatures in the 40s on both mornings, plus rain this morning, weather left teams with less time than originally scheduled. However the ABC Supply team made the most of the time allowed, posting a total of 96 laps around the 2.3-mile scenic course outside of Birmingham. Sato’s best lap time of 1:07.3314 came on lap 25 of the 57 laps he ran today. He improved his lap time from the first day by just over half a second. Yesterday he posted the quickest time for Honda-powered cars—1:07.8619--which was fifth overall.

Team Penske's Will Power topped the charts both days, posting a time of 1:07.0608 today which was six tenths quicker than yesterday’s time of 1:07.6492. Old faces in new places and their respective placings:  Ryan Briscoe/Chip Ganassi Racing (5th), Juan Pablo Montoya/Team Penske (9th), Tony Kanaan/Chip Ganassi Racing (11th), Sebastien Bourdais/KVSH Racing (14th), Sebastian Saavedra/KVAFS Racing (17th), Mike Conway/Ed Carpenter Racing (21st) and Oriol Servia/Rahal-Letterman Racing (22nd).  Rookie Jack Hawksworth/Bryan Herta Autosport was an impressive 12th quickest while Mikhail Aleshin/Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports was 20th.

The Verizon IndyCar Series opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 30. It will be televised live by ABC-TV starting at 3:30 p.m.