By A.J. Foyt
Weekends like this past one bug me to death. I think about it until the next race which unfortunately isnít for another two weeks when we go to Canada for the Honda Indy Toronto.
It figures that when you want to run really good, it all falls apart. That was the case at Iowa Speedway, a 7/8-mile banked oval about 40 minutes outside of Des Moines. I had some friends there--plus over 400 guests of our sponsor ABC Supply! It would have been good to come away with a top-10 finish. Weíve gotten a couple top-10s there in the past with different drivers so I figured weíd have a good shot with Mike Conway.
The weekend started out okay when we were 11th in the first practice but things went downhill from there. We went in the wrong direction in the second practice. Mike said that the car was too loose on entry into the corners.
We made some changes for the 30-lap heat raceóa qualifying format that, as it stands now, Iím not in favor of because itís too much risk (and expense) for little reward. †However, it did give us a chance to try something else on the car before the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
What we tried didnít work that great so for the 250-lapper we made some changes that didnít work either. After several pit stops and adjustments, the car was not much better for Mike so we decided to park it. We had a major problem (maybe a couple of problems) so there was no sense in staying out there. We werenít competitive and I didnít want to tear up the car. Seven cars crashed that night; my only good news is that we werenít one of them. This week weíll all go over the data and see where we went wrong. Itís been a learning year for everyone but weíve got to get back on track.
We have this weekend off which I know everyone on my ABC Supply team is happy about. The last time they had a weekend off was Easter in the beginning of April! Itís been a long, tough stretch on the road--tougher when youíve had some disappointing results like weíve had recently. Weíre actually looking forward to getting back to the temporary circuits because the ovals have busted us, plain and simple. Ironic considering the IndyCar Oval Series champion gets the A.J. Foyt Trophy.
Good news and bad news. Good news is that weíll get some unexpected time off in August but the bad news is because the race in China was cancelled last week. You never like to see a race cancelled, itís not good for the series. After looking at possible replacements, the INDYCAR officials decided against scheduling another race in its place. I have to agree with them because of the late timing and the added expense. Itís been an expensive year for the owners because of the new equipment we had to buy. Still, the new car and engine package have been good for the Series. The shows have been good on all types of tracks and the outcome of the races is anything but predictable.
Iím counting on that for Toronto.