Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR

Race Report: XPEL 375

ROANOKE, Texas (May 2, 2021)—The XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway had barely started before it ended for both of A.J. Foyt’s cars as a multi-car wreck on the frontstretch claimed six cars. All of the drivers emerged without injury but their cars sustained heavy damage.

Sebastien Bourdais rightfully asked, “Is there a target on my back?” afterwards as his No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet was hit from behind for the second race in a row. Dalton Kellett was also lucky to escape serious injury as he had gone low to avoid the wreck only to have Bourdais careen down in front of him. The contact sent Kellett high into the wreck and he t-boned Conor Daly who was coming down the middle of the melee. Daly got turned over and skidded on his roll hoop down the track. The car righted itself before it came to a stop.

Bourdais and Kellett check in with each other after the wreck.

Also out of the race due to the wreck were Alexander Rossi, Pietro Fittipaldi and Ed Jones.

The ROKiT crew worked until midnight repairing the car and were back at it in the morning two hours before the garage officially opened at noon today.

The ROKiT crew looks over the repairs they made to prep the car for today’s race.

“The second day here at Texas and the No. 14 Chevy ROKiT didn’t even manage to get through the

green flag,” said Bourdais. “It’s really a big shame because the guys had worked very hard until midnight to fix the car and we were just a victim of circumstances again. Got taken out at the start and there was nothing we could do, so we’ll try to rebound and have a good month of May.”

His teammate Kellett offered this perspective. “First I’m just very happy everyone was checked and cleared at medical. It’s definitely not the way you want to see the start of a race go—a car going upside down, another proof that the aeroscreen is worth its weight and doing its job. We can’t have starts like that, it’s a shame for the guys to have to come back to Indy now going into the month of May and have to patch up two torn up race cars. I feel bad for the No. 4 and 14 crews and for our partners and our team. Yesterday we had a positive day for the 4 car but it’s been a trying weekend overall. But the guys will get the cars fixed up for May and we’ll be back on track in about a week and a half for Indy GP. I’m looking forward to that and then on to the Indy 500.”

When the checkered flag flew it was Pato O’Ward celebrating his first career victory in the NTT INDYCAR Series after finishing second three times since joining the series fulltime last year. Josef Newgarden, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon and Colton Herta rounded out the top five.

The teams will be heading to Indianapolis for the GMR Grand Prix on May 15. The race will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Race Report: Genesys 300

ROANOKE, Texas (May 1, 2021)—Storms in the area threw a monkey wrench into the NTT INDYCAR Series’ return to Texas Motor Speedway today. Rain in the morning delayed the start of the sole practice and then qualifying for the Genesys 300 was cancelled as the forecast of evening storms threatened the race being completed. Cars would line up according to the team owners’ point standings.

The change-up gave Sebastien Bourdais a starting berth of seventh and Dalton Kellett 22nd.

For Bourdais, it was a fortunate turn of events as he was not happy with the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet after practice—the only one of the weekend. In the race, both drivers got off to a solid start with Bourdais maintaining his seventh place until it was time for his first pit top..

On lap 55, strategist Larry Foyt called Bourdais to the pits. Bourdais ran low into Turn 1 only to find Colton Herta running slower than normal. Bourdais checked up but unfortunately for Bourdais, Josef Newgarden did not slow enough and he hit Bourdais squarely in the rear in Turn 2. The impact sent Bourdais into a hard left and then the car shot up the banking and it hit the outer retaining wall hard with the back end, eventually coming to rest in the middle of the track. Bourdais was not injured in the accident.

Bourdais at speed in practice. (INDYCAR Photo)

“Tough break for the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet,” said Bourdais, visibly disappointed. “Not entirely sure how we got there, but we really struggled with a tough car to drive in testing here and then in practice here this afternoon. When the race started, we actually were pretty racy and competitive and it looked like we had something to play for. Then I got run into just before the first pit stop and got wrecked. It’s a real shame but we’ll try to come back stronger tomorrow.”

Kellett ran a solid race, stayed on the lead lap and avoided trouble to bring his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet home in 18th for his first race on a banked superspeedway.

The K-Line crew had solid stops.

“It was a decent result for the No. 4 car,” opined Kellett. “I was really happy we were able to make up some spots after the start of the race. With this one groove layout we have, it’s really hard to pass and make some moves off the start and the restart, and after that you’re really trying to manage your tires, try and get some spots on pit lane. The guys did a great job tonight, we were able to jump some people in the pits so I’m really happy with our performance there. I think we still need to find some mechanical grip in the middle of [Turns] 1 and 2, we’re still struggling there a bit but overall, it was a decent result from where we were in practice. It was a challenging day with the weather being in and out. Really happy to get the race in. I’m obviously feeling for the 14 crew, they got to put that car back together tonight but we’ll all be racing tomorrow as a team so looking forward to it.”

A battle between the Scotts, both of whom hail from New Zealand, saw Dixon edge out rookie McLaughlin by a quarter of a second at the checkered to claim his fifth victory at Texas. Pato O’Ward finished third, followed by Alex Palou and Graham Rahal.

Team President Larry Foyt said the ROKiT Chevrolet will be back on track for tomorrow evening’s race which will be broadcast live on NBCSN starting at 5 p.m. ET.

“That was really tough” commented Foyt. “Seb was doing a good job, he was hanging right there with the leaders and about third back were coming back to us as some gyuys were really starting to struggle. We could see it getting bottled up so we actually called him into to pit that lap as Coleton was beginning to struggle. Then Colton was really slow, then Seb checked up for it but I guess Newgarden didn’t and he hit us in the back and turned us and a big crash ensued. Tough for the team but we’ll get it fixed and be back tomorrow. Dalton did a good job, raced hard all night and moved up from where he started, so that’s a good night for them to bring that car home and move up a little bit.”

A.J. chats with his young driver who ran his first high-banked oval race at Texas.

Notes: Genesys 300 & XPEL 375

Jeremy Levenson, aka “Spiderman,” joined AJ Foyt Racing in the off-season as a mechanic who works on the front-end of the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and does bodywork. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Levenson, 33, currently lives in Cypress, Texas. His background includes karting, test driver/fleet tech at Bob Bondurant School, wrenching in Formula Atlantic and SCCA as well as racing late models. Why the “Spiderman” nickname? Jeremy collects tarantulas, 32 so far! We asked him a few questions…

Q: How did you get interested in tarantulas?

JL: “I’ve always had a bit of an interest in entomology. Even as a child I used to go out hunting for any critter I could find, which resulted in a large number of stings and bites. Around the age of ten, I raised about eight Cecropia Moth caterpillars which takes around a year from egg to moth. Tarantulas however, were always a bit intimidating for me. About three years ago, my wife and I went to a home and garden show and there was a display just past the entrance for a pest control company of all things. The owner of the company was an entomologist and had hundreds of display boards set out with different insects he’d collected from all over the world. He had a five inch, Rose Hair tarantula on his shoulder. There was a boy standing next to me who asked the owner of the company why he had a spider on him. The gentleman said, “Well, just in case anyone wants to hold her.” I had always wanted to hold one and I jumped on the offer. Suddenly much less intimidated and considerably more interested.”

Jeremy’s pets (L to R): “Moose,” “Skeletor,” and “Mark Webber” named after the F-1 driver.

Q: How many do you have and what are their names?

JL: “The last count was at 32 and I will give my best try for all the names. They aren’t necessarily

gender accurate as they tend to get the names before you can tell if they are male or female. Moira, Biscuit, Charlie, Steve, Harlow, Sherman, Moose, Violet, Mark Webber, Skeletor, Volt, Guido, Apu, Rusty Shakleford, Mort, Grimm, Ghost, Fang, Ash, Chevy, Olive, Ritz, Fuzzy (named by a grade school class), Willow, Sirius, Noodles, Albert, Norbert, Albert, Finley, Linney and Lyra.

Q: What is the most surprising fact about tarantulas?

JL: “I think it may be a tie between the lifespan and how often they eat. Females can live up to 25 years and they can go several years without food, Moira hasn’t eaten in two years!”

Q: What is the most important thing about caring for them? (Aside from not letting them get loose!)

JL: “The most important things are always having fresh water available, somewhere to hide and making sure the temperature and humidity are correct for each species.”

Q: What do you feed them and have you ever been bitten?

JL: “I use tongs to hold a piece of food to see if they are hungry and then I feed them either crickets, roaches or meal worms normally. I have not been bitten!”

Q: Who takes care of them when you are traveling with the team?

JL: “My wife Courtney. She likes the spiders. They’re not exactly best friends but she’s been very supportive. Moira is her favorite and she will hold her. The fast ones make her a little jumpy though.”

(Courtney is pictured below with her son Logan and husband Jeremy after graduating from Eastern Kentucky University with a Masters of Science in Safety, Security, and Emergency Management.)

Q: Where and how do you house the spiders?

JL: “They’re all in individual, acrylic enclosures. Some will tolerate living together with members of the same species but it’s not something they would do in nature so it’s not recommended as it tends to stress them out. They’re in two rooms on book shelves.”

Q: How did you get interested in racing?

JL: “My father definitely groomed me to be involved with it. Our house was always full of photos and memorabilia. I think what really got me invested was playing a racing sim from 1998 called Grand Prix Legends. My father and I would go back and forth trying to beat each other’s lap times and I still play it occasionally today.”

Q: What is your racing resume?

JL: “Ohio Valley Karting Association, I raced a 100cc sprint kart for four years until I moved to Arizona for school where I was a test driver/ fleet tech for the Bob Bondurant School. I went to work for Brooks Associates Racing in the 2008 Atlantic Championship as the 3rd mechanic. After moving back home I worked as the lead mechanic for a local shop called SR Racing that competed in the SCCA Formula First series. During that time, I raced an asphalt late model for Win Smith Racing in the CRA Super Series and the JEGS Allstar Tour. I’ve done a number of things on the side, one of the more notable was helping crew the 2005 Le Mans winning Champion Audi R8, HSR Classic at Daytona. I still drive occasionally. I’ve participated in an endurance karting event every year for the past seven years to benefit the Boy Scouts.”

Q: What was the first race you attended in person?

JL: “I went to the inaugural Belterra Resort Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway in 2000.”

Q: How did you become aware of A.J. Foyt Racing?

JL: “Growing up surrounded by racing, I’m not sure when I first heard about the team. I remember reading the books my father had in his collection and the model cars all over the shelves. It was always just a part of my memory.”

Q: Is this your first job in the INDYCAR Series?

JL: “It is, this is my first job in the series. I feel extremely lucky for it to be with AJ Foyt Racing. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.”

Q: What is the most significant achievement in your career so far?

JL: “I’m not sure how significant it was, but the strongest emotional connection I’ve ever had in my racing career was a little silly. I was about twelve years old and a friend of my father’s gave me a McCulloch go kart engine from the 60’s to play with. I remember when I got it, I wanted to see it run. It was full of corn kernels after I assume a mouse had attempted to convert it to ethanol.

I took it as far apart as I could with some basic hand tools my dad had in the garage and cleaned it up. I had it spread out over the work bench and got it back together. I was so excited to hear that after it was sent to an engine builder to be checked, all he had to do was add oil and it fired up! I’m not sure if that actually happened but I was so proud that I’d put an engine together and it worked.”

Q: What is the best part of our job?

JL: “I think any day at the track, be it testing or race day would be my highlight. Seeing everyone’s hard work coming together and knowing you had a part in it is indescribable.”

Q: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

JL: “My parents most certainly would have to take that place in my heart. The support and the love they give without asking for anything in return has been unwavering. They have been to both of the opening races this year and I can’t ever thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS will be making his seventh start at Texas Motor Speedway this

weekend. He tested at TMS earlier this year. His best start was third in 2019 and his best finish of eighth came the same year.

Bourdais: “The Texas doubleheader is obviously a very tough race, it’s always a very challenging event. We were not awesome there in testing but I think they guys have some really good ideas so hopefully we’ll make some good progress and perform as well as Charlie [Kimball] did last year for the team and have a good time two races in a row.”

DALTON KELLETT will be making his first career start at Texas Motor Speedway this

weekend which is his first ever race on a high-banked oval. In Indy Lights, he raced at Phoenix, Iowa and Gateway.

Kellett: “Going into Texas this week which is the third race of our back-to-back season opener stint. Really excited to go back to “No Limits, Texas” as I think the town is called. As they say, they do everything bigger in Texas. It’s the first high-banked oval for me so we were testing there about a month ago. It was great to get an opportunity to be on that track and get familiarized with it before we go into a fast-paced race weekend. There’s not a lot of time to figure stuff out so it’s great that we got to test there and the car felt pretty good. When we were there, it was cold and windy and the track was pretty green so when we go back there hopefully it’s not so much of a go, no go, situation with that sealant that they applied. Maybe the racing will be a little bit better than what we were thinking but if that’s not the case, it will probably come down to strategy and getting good track position.

“My first impressions: I was impressed with the size of the facility and the intensity of driving there. You really feel the load pushing into the seat. It’s a track with lots of history in IndyCar so it’s exciting to get to race there!

“We did some group running in testing but my experience [in traffic] is limited to Indy. So I will be tapping into that going into the weekend. The big challenges will be managing tire degradation and the sealant on the 2nd and 3rd lanes. Looking forward to the challenge of two races in No Limits, Texas!”

A.J. FOYT will be passing up attending the Kentucky Derby this year to be at this weekend’s Texas doubleheader. Foyt’s team won this race with Billy Boat driving in 1997 but after a protest, the race win was awarded to Arie Luyendyk by officials who cited a scoring error. In 1998, Boat started alongside pole winner Tony Stewart. Boat’s teammate Kenny Brack finished third and went on to win the title that year.

Foyt: “I’m going to Texas instead of the Derby because I’ve been going to the Derby for many, many years, but I don’t have a horse running there this year. A lot of times on Derby Day, I’d have a horse running, but now I don’t, so I’d rather see my two race cars run. I gave the suite to my grandson Anthony and his wife Casey. I’m hoping for a big weekend in Texas. When you’re in your home state, you don’t like to get beat. I know when I was racing in Texas, I did win some races. So far, the last good race we had was with Billy Boat winning it. We had to back it up the second year because the first year they tried to say we didn’t win it, which we did, so we won it two years straight. I still have the trophy.”

The trophy from the 1997 Texas race sits next to the famed “Come and Take It” flag dating back to the Battle of Gonzales and later the Alamo (which is another story in itself).

Last Race: At St. Petersburg, Bourdais qualified fifth and finished tenth after an up and down race. Dalton Kellett was running a solid race but electrical issues cut short his race. He placed 23rd.

The Genesys 300 will be broadcast live on NBCSN Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. ET. The XPEL 375 will be broadcast Sunday afternoon starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Fulcrum Technology Solutions Joins AJ Foyt Racing for INDYCAR Doubleheader

WALLER, Texas (April 28, 2021)—AJ Foyt Racing is introducing Fulcrum Technology Solutions to the world of INDYCAR racing. The technology company has signed a two-race agreement as a marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing.

As part of the agreement, the Fulcrum Technology Solutions logo will appear on the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet in this weekend’s NTT INDYCAR Series doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway. The Genesys 300 race will run Saturday evening and the XPEL 375 race will run less than 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s such a pleasure having a company as respected in their field as Fulcrum is to be a part of what we do,” said Larry Foyt, team president. “I’m very impressed with their big data analytics and cybersecurity expertise and am looking forward to seeing our partnership grow even deeper.”

Located in Houston, Texas, Fulcrum Technology Solutions is a consulting firm that specializes in managed IT infrastructure and cybersecurity services. While managed Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Security Operations Center (SOC) solutions are the fastest growing part of their business, they continue to provide premier professional services and products to their longstanding clients.

“Fulcrum is proud to be associated with such an amazing racing team. Being a part of this Texas racing legend’s team success is a source of tremendous joy for us,” stated Randle Moore, the chief strategy officer of Fulcrum.

In addition to the company’s logo being on the car and pit support equipment, there will be a meet and greet with driver Sebastien Bourdais, the four-time INDYCAR champion who is piloting the No. 14 Indy car fulltime for Foyt. Bourdais drove a partial season for Foyt last year.

NBC Sports Network will televise both races this weekend: the live broadcast times are 7 p.m. ET Saturday night for the Genesys 300 and 5:00 p.m. ET for the XPEL 375.

About Fulcrum Technology Solutions

Fulcrum Technology Solutions, founded in Houston, Texas, has been providing growing businesses and enterprises with world-class cybersecurity solutions, integration services, and managed services since 2011. With a unique consultative perspective and best of breed solutions, Fulcrum Technology Solutions offers a full range of IT services directly to their customers. www.ftsc.com

Qualifying Report-Firestone GP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 24, 2021)—Sebastien Bourdais continues to prove why he is a four-time INDYCAR champion.

After a couple of frustrating practices in which he ended up 14th and 16th, Bourdais and his team of engineers were able to sort out the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet in time for qualifying. Bourdais made it through two rounds of knockout qualifying to be in the Firestone Fast Six. After setting a lap time of 1 minute, 1.0017 seconds (106.227 mph), he will start fifth in tomorrow’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“A really good afternoon here in the St. Pete Grand Prix in the ROKiT No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet,” said Bourdais, who won the pole here in 2003 in his first ever INDYCAR start. “Really happy with that Fast 6 and we’re going to start fifth tomorrow. It’s definitely a big turnaround from FP 1 (“free practice”) and FP 2 so hats off to the boys for figuring it out and giving me a great ride. Can’t wait for the race tomorrow!”

Bourdais with part of his engineering group (L to R): Technical Director Mike Colliver, Performance Engineer Daniele Cucchiaroni and Race Engineer Justin Taylor after the morning practice.

The fifth place run was the best for Bourdais since he qualified sixth here in 2015. Last October, he barely missed the top 6 and started seventh. He followed up by finishing fourth for the Foyt team’s best ever finish here. The team did win a pole with Takuma Sato in 2014 after he started second for the team in 2013. More recently, Matheus Leist qualified third in his first ever INDYCAR start in 2018 driving for Foyt.

Dalton Kellett’s first run in an Indy car at St. Pete didn’t go quite as well as he had hoped.

Kellett’s tall frame has a snug fit in the cockpit of his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.

“A bit of a tough qualifying session for the No. 4,” said the affable Canadian who will start 24th. “Got two runs on Firestone Reds. On the second set of reds when the track was optimum and we were going for it, I was up on my lap time but I had a moment in turn 5 and lost that one good lap. The tires come in so fast and you’ve just got to get that one lap right, and I didn’t put it together for this one so I have to reset for tomorrow.”

Colton Herta won the NTT P1 Award with his pole-winning time of 1 minute, .3210 of a second (107.425 mph) lap time for his fifth career pole. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Jack Harvey, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Bourdais and Pato O’Ward, who won the pole last weekend at Barber Motorsport Park.

The teams will have a 30-minute warmup tomorrow morning as the final prep for the Firestone Grand Prix which will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 12 noon. The race will also be carried on the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Notes & Quotes: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

JUSTIN TAYLOR joined the team in the off season to become the race engineer for Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet. He started his career as a mechanic in 1999 while pursuing an engineering degree at Colorado State University. He has worked as a data engineer, a performance engineer and finally became a race engineer in 2014. His resume lists stints in IMSA, American LeMans Series, and of course INDYCAR. While working for Audi Sport, he lived in Ingolstadt, Germany, 45min north of Munich. We asked him a few questions…

Q: How did you get interested in racing?

JT: “My dad got the whole family into SCCA racing when I was 10yrs old. I was infatuated immediately.”

Q. What were the first races you attended in person?

JT: “Saturday nights watching the modifieds and late models race at Colorado National Speedway, a 3/8-mile paved oval in Erie, Colorado.”

Q: What other race positions have you held before joining this team (including series and teams and durations)?

JT:3R Racing – SCCA World Challenge GT – Mechanic 1999-2004; Audi Sport – American Le Mans Series/International Le Mans Cup/World Endurance Championship – Data Engineer 2005-2008, Performance Engineer 2009-2013, Race Engineer 2014-2016; Ed Carpenter Racing – INDYCAR – Race Engineer 2017; Mazda Team Joest – IMSA DPi – Chief Race Engineer 2018;

Oreca/Rebellion Racing – World Endurance Championship – Race Engineer 2018, Chief Race Engineer 2019-2020.”

This photo is from the last race for Audi in LMP1, ending an 18 year stretch with a win in Bahrain. Taylor, pictured above in center with white shirt, was the race engineer.

Q: What is the most significant achievement in your career so far? Did it change your perspective?

JT: “Winning the 24hr of Le Mans 2014… winning once only made the desire to win again even stronger.”

Q: Why did you turn your attention to INDYCAR instead of NASCAR?

JT: “Although I do enjoy oval racing, I’m partial to road/street courses.”

Q: What is the most challenging part of engineering an Indy car?

JT: “Getting the most out of the tires at the right moment requires a lot of knowledge of the track, weather, driving style and precise planning.”

Taylor works with Daniele Cucchiaroni (far left) and Alex Diaz (center) on the engineering stand.

Q: Is it more difficult at the track or coming up with the starting setup for the track?

JT: “Tuning the setup at the track is certainly more difficult than creating a start setup simply because of the shorter timeframe to research and make decisions.”

Q: What do you enjoy about working with Sebastien Bourdais?

JT: “He’s always trying to make it less of a job and just enjoy what we are doing.”

Q: From your perspective what are his strengths as a driver?

JT: “His understanding of the tires is fantastic and he can explain his feelings in language that we as engineers can understand.”

Q: How do you deal with the frustrations inherent in racing?

JT: “Not very well! Lol! Seriously, I try my best to treat mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and improve.”

Q: What is the best part of your job?

JT: “The “team” feeling you get when everything goes to plan and you end up on the top of the podium.”

Q: Since you enjoy traveling, do you have a favorite vacation spot?

JT: “It’s hard to put my finger on a favorite place to visit but I am partial to northern Italy: Lake Garda, Cinque Terre, etc.”

Taylor with his wife Elizabeth in Switzerland–just a bit farther north of their favorite places to visit in northern Italy.

Q: Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

JT: “Aside from my Mom and Dad, probably my 8th grade math teacher, Mr. (Howard) Selbst who showed me that it was cool to be excited about math and science.”

Taylor Fast Facts: Age 40…Born in Denver, Colorado…lives in Indianapolis…Married to Elizabeth…Earned his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University in 2005…His interests outside of racing are traveling, snow skiing, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking or “just being outside.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS on St. Petersburg: “I’m really excited for Round 2 of the NTT INDYCAR

Series in St. Petersburg. Obviously, a Grand Prix at home is a sweet thing to do –- to race in front of friends and family. It’s a great track where I have some really good memories, so hopefully, we can make some more.”

Bourdais is a two-time winner of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg having won in 2017 and 2018. His 2018 victory was particularly sweet having come back from serious injuries sustained in qualifying for the 2017 Indianapolis 500. Bourdais won the 12 Hours of Sebring in March so he will be aiming for another victory in his “home” state of Florida.

Bourdais won the pole in his first career INDYCAR race in 2003 at St. Petersburg driving for Newman-Haas, the team with whom he won his record four straight championship titles. In his past 11 Firestone Grands Prix, Bourdais has started in the top-10 four times and finished in the top-10 four times, including his two victories. In 2020, he finished fourth driving for AJ Foyt Racing, thus securing the team’s berth in the lucrative INDYCAR Leaders Club program for 2021, prompting the team to dub him “The Million Dollar Man.”

Bourdais Fast Facts: Age 42…Born in LeMans, France…lives in St. Petersburg, Fla…Married to Claire, has two children, Emma and Alex…Ranks sixth on INDYCAR’s All-time Wins list with 37 victories and ranks seventh in career poles with 34…Ex-Formula One driver (2008-09)…Won 12 Hours of Sebring this year; has won Rolex 24 at Daytona overall (2014) and Petit LeMans…Finished second overall in 24 Hours of LeMans and won in the GTE class with Ford in 2016.

DALTON KELLETT on St. Petersburg: “Really looking forward to heading into St. Pete. It’s going to

be a great weekend heading down to Florida where it all began last year so looking forward to actually getting on track. It’ll be fun to see the fans out there being safe, social distancing, wearing their masks, it’s going to be a fun event. Looking forward to getting on track, it’s a cool circuit, really intense, street circuits are always a lot of fun and the racing’s going to be great. I can’t wait to get down there in the sun and the K-Line Insulators USA Chevy.”

Kellett will be making his first start at the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course in an Indy car this weekend. His previous experience was in Indy Lights. His best start at St. Petersburg in that division was third in 2017 and his best finish was sixth the following year.

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 27…Born in Stouffville, Canada…lives in Indianapolis…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf.

A.J. FOYT on Indianapolis 500 Fan Attendance: “It’s really great because the Indianapolis 500 is

the greatest race in the world, I’ve always said that. I’m just glad the Indiana officials were able to open it up to 40% of capacity. I want to thank Governor Holcomb and everyone else who made this possible. I know they worked very hard to get this done and I’m very happy about it and I know a lot of fans will be too.”

Foyt Racing Past Performance at St. Petersburg: AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is from pole in 2014 with Takuma Sato. The team’s best finish is fourth with Bourdais in 2020. Over the past 16 years, Foyt has fielded 22 entries and racked up nine top-10s in starting berths including two front row starts (both with Sato). His team has garnered nine top-10 finishes. Last year was the first time the team posted two cars in the top-10. In addition to Bourdais’ fourth place finish, Charlie Kimball placed eighth.

Last Race: At the season opener at Barber Motorsport Park, Bourdais qualified 16th and finished fifth, giving him two consecutive top-five finishes for AJ Foyt Racing, counting his fourth place finish in the 2020 season finale in St. Petersburg in October. Kellett started 23rd, and finished 18th, his best finish to date. Both drivers sustained some damage to their cars when collected in the first lap multi-car crash in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

NBC streaming and broadcast information: NBC’s new streaming channel Peacock will stream Friday’s practice from 4:15 – 5 p.m. and Saturday’s practice from 9:45 – 10:30 a.m. Qualifying will be streamed live at 1:45 p.m. and a delayed broadcast airs on NBCSN Saturday night from 10 – 11 p.m. On Sunday, the morning warmup will be streamed live at 9:35 a.m. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 12 noon. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

ripKurrent returns to AJ Foyt Racing at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (April 20, 2021)— For the second straight year, AJ Foyt Racing has engaged ripKurrent, an energy solutions integrations firm, as an associate marketing partner of Charlie Kimball’s No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet for the month of May in Indianapolis. 

The ripKurrent branding will be on the engine cover of the No. 11 car for both the Indy Grand Prix and the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The ripKurrent logo will also appear on the nose cone of two other Foyt Racing entries for the 500: the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet driven by Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet driven by rookie Dalton Kellett. 

“It’s great to continue the relationship with ripKurrent for a third year!” said Kimball who will be making his 11th run at the 500. “Getting to know them as a company, but more importantly, the people that make up the company, has been awesome. Seeing how they work with, and alongside, their clients proves to me they are great partners in business. Hopefully, having them as partners with AJ Foyt Racing is a winning combination!”

The company plans to entertain its guests throughout the month of May.

“I am excited for ripKurrent to be back with AJ Foyt Racing for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500,” said Jade Culbertson, Founder & President of ripKurrent. “A.J., Larry and their team have put together a strong group of drivers and are poised for a great month of May. We are looking forward to our association with the entire team, especially our prominent identification with Charlie Kimball and the #11 car.

“On behalf of ripKurrent and the Dye Capital family of companies, we can’t wait for May and to once again experience the greatest spectacle in racing with our family, friends, customers and colleagues.”

Based in Boca Raton, Florida, ripKurrent expanded its involvement in the NTT INDYCAR Series after having sponsored Kimball’s car at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in August, 2019.

The No. 11 Chevrolet is based in the team’s Speedway, Indiana race shop. 

“It’s great to continue the relationship with ripKurrent for a third year!” said Kimball who will be making his 11th run at the 500. “Getting to know them as a company, but more importantly, the people that make up the company, has been awesome. Seeing how they work with, and alongside, their clients proves to me they are great partners in business. Hopefully, having them as partners with AJ Foyt Racing is a winning combination!”

“It’s great to have Ripkurrent returning with us in the month of May,” said Team President Larry Foyt. “They have become great friends as well as being integral in the design and application of the cooling systems at the new Foyt Winery we are building. We look forward to continuing having them as part of the AJ Foyt Racing Team.”

The Indy Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, May 15th and will be broadcast live on NBC. The Indy 500 will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday, May 30.

Race Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM (April 18, 2021)—Sebastien Bourdais drove the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet to a top five finish in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama giving AJ Foyt Racing its best start to the NTT INDYCAR Series season in years and best finish ever at Barber Motorsports Park.

If there was a Hard Charger Award, Bourdais earned it.

And he did it the hard way—starting 16th and barely skirting through the first lap melee triggered by Josef Newgarden’s spin that sidelined several cars. Both Bourdais and his teammate Dalton Kellett, who started 23rd in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA, got through the multi-car crash but they sustained damage to their cars’ undertrays.

This photo shot by Joe Skibinski of INDYCAR Photos shows just how close Bourdais’s escape was in the first lap crash.

Kellett pitted as a precaution on lap three when the pits opened during the six lap caution period. The decision proved fortuitous as he had a bent rear wheel. Bourdais thought he might have a damaged front wing but the crew eyeballed it and told him to stay out.

The key strategy call came during the next full course yellow on laps 10-11 when race strategist Larry Foyt and his engineers radioed to Bourdais to pit. The move set him up for a three stop race that allowed him to run hard against those committed to a two stop race where saving fuel was paramount.

Following that second full course caution, the race ran green for the final 79 laps. Bourdais, who led twice during the pit stop cycles, had some heated battles on track as he clawed his way to the sharp end of the grid with some masterful passes under braking.

The ROKiT crew came through with their best stop of the race on lap 63 before the final stint. On fresh blacks, Bourdais battled with Pato O’Ward who was able to leapfrog ahead by dint of his final stop which set up a tight battle amongst Bourdais, O’Ward and Marcus Ericsson. O’Ward muscled his way past Ericsson and set sail. Four laps later, Bourdais moved past Ericsson and into fifth. Once Foyt radioed Bourdais could stop saving fuel, he took off after O’Ward and closed the gap but had to settle for fifth.

Bourdais and Larry Foyt chat after the race.

“A really good run for the 14 ROKiT Chevrolet and A.J. Foyt Racing,” said Bourdais who was obviously pleased with the result. “A very solid day, a really solid race, good strategy, good pit stops and good pace so really happy for the whole team. We overcame a really dodgey day starting 16th and we put on a good show, made a bunch of passes so really happy for everybody. I’m looking forward to St. Pete.”

After surviving the first lap dustup, Kellett ran a solid race and finished 18th in just his ninth NTT INDYCAR Series race.

“It was a pretty chaotic start,” said Kellett, adding, “We got collected in a bit of that mayhem going through Turn 3 and into Turn 5 and kind of tagged Newgarden. We got some damage to the right rear and right sidepod, brought the car in for service, replaced a bent wheel with Firestone reds on it and put blacks on it.

The K-Line crew had solid stops.

“That changed our strategy up a bit because we had to run blacks for the whole race but that effectively opened up the window for us to fuel save and do three longer stints” he explained. “I think our overall pace was alright and I just need to work more on fuel saving while hitting that lap time.”

A.J. Foyt, who made it to only two races last year—the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale in St. Petersburg—was quite pleased with his team’s performance.

All smiles…A.J. and Seb pose for a minute following the race. Kellett in background heads to chat with his crew after getting changed.

“I was glad to see the 14 be leading the race for a change, it’s been long time since I’ve seen that,” said the seven-time Indy car champion. “Sebastien did a helluva job, got a little damage to the undertray in that first wreck but he came back hard and drove a great race. The crew did a great job in pitstops and Larry called a perfect race. Fifth is not what we’re satisfied with but it will get better. Dalton drove a good race, he’s kind of a rookie and still learning. He got in that wreck too and tore up his undertray which really hindered him but he drove a good race and stayed out of trouble; he drove a smart race.”

Team President Larry Foyt summed up the day by saying, “Really good start to the season for AJ Foyt Racing. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying we wanted, so both cars had to start towards the back. We were able to hit a decent strategy and Seb made some awesome passes to get the 14 car a top-five finish. Dalton was mixing it up through the field as well and gained a great deal of experience today.”

Alex Palou won his first career INDYCAR race after starting third and leading the most laps. Will Power finished second followed by current INDYCAR champion Scott Dixon, O’Ward, who led the second most laps at 25, and Bourdais, who led a total of four laps.

The Series heads east to St. Petersburg, Florida this week for the Firestone Grand Prix which will be broadcast live Sunday, April 25th on NBC starting at 12 noon ET.

Kellett on track as “The Spider” looks on.

Qualifying Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM—Qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was disappointing for the AJ Foyt Racing team especially after the positive test at this track in February when they were quickest amongst the 12 cars that tested at Barber Motorsport Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

The team never seemed to find the sweet spot in the setup on either car in the two practice sessions before the late afternoon qualifying rounds.

Bourdais, who qualified 16th with a time of 1 minute, 6.5035 seconds (124.505mph), explained,

“It was a bit of a tough day for the 14v ROKiT Chevrolet and A.J. Foyt Racing team. We had a really successful test and we were hoping for a really good weekend. Unfortunately, we unloaded a bit off this morning and we never really did figure it out and we ended up P-8 in qualifying in our group so a bit disappointed. Guess it’s going to be a long day tomorrow so we’ll try to make the best of it.”

Kellett, who shares a similar driving style to Bourdais, will start 23rd after posting s time of 1 minute, 7.8 seconds (122.106mph) in his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet.

“It was a bit of a tough qualifying session for us,” said Kellett. “I didn’t quite get the most out of the car on the second lap on reds. On our quick lap, I had a big moment through the kink that cost us about half a second which obviously hurt us. I never did feel like I got the tires up to temp and didn’t quite feel I had the grip. So I have to think about it and look at what Seb was doing differently because the cars were pretty similar, so it was more of a feel thing than an actual setup difference. So we’ll have to see what he was doing to make it work and use that going into tomorrow.”

Pato O’Ward won the pole with a time of 1 minute, 5.8479 seconds (125.744mph). Completing the Firestone Fast Six were: Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou, Will Power, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson.

The teams have a final 30-minute practice tomorrow morning before the race which will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

The 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series kicks off its 17-race season this weekend in the beautiful and aptly named Barber Motorsport Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama. AJ Foyt Racing is fielding the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet for four-time INDYCAR champion Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet for rookie Dalton Kellett in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. With exactly 200 more INDYCAR races under his belt than his 27-year-old Canadian teammate, Bourdais will be entering his 209thINDYCAR event this weekend. Following are both drivers’ thoughts going into the race weekend. Team President Larry Foyt also shares his thoughts below.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS On:

  • The challenges of Barber Motorsport Park: “It’s a pretty complete track, a couple of really hard braking zones, at which you have to be very aggressive, and for the most part, being a motorcycle race track, it’s very flowing. The corners are very long and one leads to the next, so the balance of the car needs to be really quite good. You don’t have any hopes of carrying the car around because if the car is not under you, the corners are too long.” (What do you mean by that?) “The long radiuses tend to close on themselves like Turn 2 for example. You are in the corner for like 4 seconds which is a very long time in an Indy car. Then you have a lot of elevation changes with pretty quick entry speed, blind approaches and quick apexes. You have to be very much on your toes to get your timing right and there’s not much room for error. You drop a wheel off and you’ll probably hit something since there’s grass on either side.”
  • Barber being a very physical track: “It is and particularly this year since they repaved the track last year; the mechanical grip has gone up significantly. The wheel is very heavy and the G’s have gone up, naturally. It’s just around a 2 hour race so yes, it’s going to be physical.”
  • Winter Testing at Barber: “It was a very productive couple of days that we had over there. The first test we unloaded and we were a tiny bit off. We learned from it and we came back a bit stronger, and it looks like we are a force to be reckoned with. The conditions should be fairly similar to when we tested with temperatures between 50 and 70. Hopefully, if everything we learned holds true, we’ll have the same car and a strong weekend.”
  • The unique designs of the car and uniform: “It’s a nice art exercise and definitely a strong point into creating something different and cool. The general response has been great. It’s always nice to wheel a car that everybody thinks is good-looking.”
  • Managing expectations for 2021: “I think the only way to stay focused and not get carried away or distracted or put pressure, is just to tackle weekends one at a time. Just do the best we can on the individual weekend. I don’t think we have any real legit goals as far as championship goes. I know Larry has mentioned the top-10, but I think trying to set goals or any serious targets are not particularly productive. It’s very pressurizing for an organization to come out with clear expectations. I’ve never really functioned like that. All you can do is do your very best and give a hundred percent and then results come or not. Racing is quite cruel sometimes. You do your very best and hope it’s enough to provide some strong results. If you look at the entry list, there are really no weak combinations at all and there are a lot of very, very strong packages with experienced guys who’ve been with their respective teams for a while, and new combinations that are strong cars getting some very good drivers in them. The gaps are going to be ridiculously small and you’re going to have to bring your A-game to contend for good results. So that’s why I’m really trying not to think much about it. We’ll see how things shake out and hopefully it looks good for us.”
  • The challenges for a driver to race on three different types of circuits in three weeks: “It’s one of the specificities of INDYCAR and why I love it so much. You have to be able to switch modes, from ovals to streets to roads and be up to speed right away. The driving styles are drastically different. Aggressive and very engaged physically on streets and roads. Very smooth on ovals. When the car responds well and you feel comfortable and confident it’s easy, but when the car isn’t there for you, things get quite tricky pretty fast.”
  • The compressed schedule of four races in 3 weeks: “It’s like we’re jumping straight into the thick of it — like things would be in May and June for us. I believe mixing schedules and different formulas has helped me to gear up for that pretty well. It’s always a bit more demanding to go back to back… but since I have gone as far as 8 weekends in a row, it should be fine. It also forces you not to stay trapped in the moment and move on, which is a good thing.”

Bourdais Fast Facts: Age 42…Born in LeMans, France…lives in St. Petersburg, Fla…Married to Claire, has two children, Emma and Alex…Ranks sixth on INDYCAR’s All-time Wins list with 37 victories and ranks seventh in career poles with 34…Ex-Formula One driver (2008-09)…Won 12 Hours of Sebring this year; has won Rolex 24 at Daytona overall (2014) and Petit LeMans…Finished second overall in 24 Hours of LeMans and won in the GTE class with Ford in 2016.

DALTON KELLETT On:

  • Barber Motorsport Park: “Barber is a fun, technical track. It really asks for a lot of commitment to be fast and you have to be precise, especially when the elevation changes affect the grip. Personally, I enjoy driving there, tracks that are fast and flowing are my favourite so it fits right in.”
  • Winter Testing at Barber: “Our off-season tests went well. I’m feeling more and more at home and we showed more pace relative to last year. I’m confident in our cars going into the season opener. I think we laid the ground work for a solid season of building from where we were last year.”
  • Cars: INDYCAR vs. INDY LIGHTS: “This track is quite a bit different in the Indy car than the Indy Lights car. The Indy car is obviously faster and has more grip overall, so the commitment level is higher. But on the other hand, the Lights’ harder tires and lack of sophisticated dampers and third springs make it more of a handful in the tricky sections, like going downhill through Turns 8 and 9. Where you can really attack the curbs in the Indy car, you had to be a bit more careful with the Lights car because the suspension and tires just couldn’t handle those inputs.”
  • INDYCAR 2.0: “My second season in INDYCAR is all about building from last year’s experience and continuing to learn. Working with Seb will be great from a driving and technical standpoint. I have a great opportunity to learn from one of the best, so I will be taking advantage of that at every step. I’m looking forward to returning to the track with some experience behind me and a better handle on what to expect from the car. INDYCAR is so competitive right now, the series is in a great place, we’ve got an extremely talented pool of drivers. Every position on the grid will be fought for, so we will all be on our toes and pushing very hard.”
  • Challenge of racing on three different types of circuits in 3 weeks: “Racing on the road courses, street circuits, and ovals is one of the hallmarks of the NTT INDYCAR Series. As a driver, you have to be diverse and adaptable. Going from Barber to St. Pete, to Texas is a great example. Our first three races are each on a different type of track (and Texas is a doubleheader). At this point, I feel like I have the experience to know how to approach each type and it’s just a question of taking some time between events to get in the mindset for the upcoming circuit.”

Kellett Fast Facts: Age 27…Born in Stouffville, Canada…lives in Indianapolis…Graduated from Queens University with a degree in Engineering Physics…Brand spokesman for Ten80 Education’s National STEM League…Enjoys rock climbing, backcountry skiing, camping, playing guitar, cooking and golf.

LARRY FOYT On:

  • The challenges of racing on three different types of tracks in three weeks: “First off, I think it’s one of the beautiful parts of INDYCAR that you have these diverse sets of race tracks with different skill sets needed and you have different drivers that excel at different ones. It really makes the competition interesting and challenging. I think the drivers and engineers have the biggest challenge of getting the setups right despite the differences. The great part about INDYCAR is to win the championship, you have to do well on all of them. It’s even more of a challenge having these four races back-to-back; that’s taxing on everybody, especially starting the season and going three weekends in a row. Everybody’s ready for it, you know it’s coming, and it’ll be really interesting to see how everybody handles it.”
  • What is involved in changing over the cars: “From a road course to a street course, it’s not so much. Going from the road course to street course is a mere setup change. We typically have specialized cars for ovals so that’s a little bit more of a challenge going from a road or street course to an oval. When we go to the oval, we have a lot of parts and pieces to change, the obvious aero changes, different rear ends that are built to an oval spec that we use. Here is one instance that being able to work in our Texas shop between St. Pete and Fort Worth is a big help.”
  • Assessing the progress the team has made since last season: “We’re encouraged by the testing over the winter and had made some big gains especially on our permanent road course setups. Obviously, the weather will probably be a little different from when we tested so the engineers have to adjust for that. We feel like we can do really well these first couple races, we just want to make sure we do all our basics as a team from pitstops and things like that. It’s the stuff you’re supposed to do right but it’s very easy to get it wrong and make a mistake. That can be very costly with all these teams being as close as they are. We want to execute the weekend well so we can get the result and show the speed we think we have.”

Foyt Fast Facts: Age 44…Born in Houston, Texas…Lives in Hockley, Texas…Married to Kelly and has a son Larry, Jr….Before joining his father A.J.’s team in 2007 as director, Foyt drove in NASCAR’s Cup (2003), Xfinity (2001-2002) and Truck divisions (sporadically)…Made three Indy 500 starts…Since becoming President of the team (November, 2014), Foyt oversaw expansion to two car team (2015), established race shop in Indy in addition to Waller, Texas…Co-founded Foyt Family Wines (2008) with A.J. Foyt IV…opened Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Indiana (2015)…Is currently building a Foyt Winery in Fredericksburg, Texas (2021).

Past Performance at Barber: Sebastien Bourdais has finished in the top-10 five times in nine races with a best start of third in 2018 and a best finish of third in 2019. Dalton Kellett will be making his first start in an Indy car here; his best start and finish in Indy Lights is sixth. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is fourth in 2012 with Mike Conway who also posted the team’s best finish of seventh.

NBC streaming and broadcast information: On Saturday, NBC’s new streaming channel Peacock will stream practice from 11 – 11:45 a.m. and 2:40 – 3:25 p.m. Qualifying will be streamed live at 5:50 p.m. and a delayed broadcast airs on NBCSN at 10 p.m. On Sunday, the morning warmup will be streamed live at 11:30 a.m. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be broadcast on NBC starting at 3 p.m. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

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