INDIANAPOLIS (May 25, 2023)–For longtime fans of A.J. Foyt, Benjamin Pedersen’s firesuit may strike a familiar chord.
The fastest rookie in this year’s Indianapolis 500 is paying tribute to his famous boss this month by wearing a vintage-looking firesuit inspired by suits Foyt wore in the early 1980s.
“Obviously this is the biggest event of the whole year and we wanted to do something very special for A.J. and the team,” said the 24-year-old Danish American, who celebrated a birthday on may 11th. “This was definitely the event to do something, so we just looked back in time at some of his most iconic suits and something we wanted to kind of do a throwback to.
“And we found the one that I’m currently wearing which is from the mid-80s,” he continued. “And yeah, it just turned out really cool to do something very vintage but in the most modern era. It has patches on the suit and everything like that, but it is a very modern lightweight suit. So Sparco [uniform manufacturer] did a great job — even just the details like the zipper from back in the day that’s printed on rather than it actually being a zipper — it’s just very, very cool.”
However, the firesuit isn’t the only tribute Pedersen is paying this month. His specially designed helmet for the Indy 500 features his handwritten message for his parents, “Tusind tak for alt, Mor og Far,” which translates to “A thousand thanks for everything, Mom and Dad.”
Christian and Helle Pedersen have supported Benjamin’s motorsports career for as long as he can remember which started with motocross as a youngster.
Pedersen progressed to go karts and eventually single seater cars in 2016 when he competed in F-4, and then the FR Americas championship and British Formula 3. He competed in the INDY NXT Series for two years before moving up to the NTT INDYCAR Series this season where he became the fastest rookie to qualify for the Indy 500, setting a record for the fastest qualifying lap (233.297mph) by a rookie. Pedersen will start 11th in the No. 55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet on Sunday; the race will be broadcast by NBC with the pre-race coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET.