Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR

Foyt Wines Celebrates Month of Speed with Tony Kanaan Tribute Bottle

SONOMA, Calif.—The month of May is a time for celebrations: Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings, and the start of summer vacations. For motorsports fans, May is a celebration of Speed.

In what has become a month of May tradition, Foyt Family Wines is releasing the No. 103 Napa Valley Cabernet, a wine honoring the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. This year’s bottle pays tribute to the career of Tony “TK” Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion.

The collectible wine bottle features the race’s logo and the historic photo of Kanaan in the winner’s circle, drenching himself with the winner’s milk that has become a time honored tradition dating back to 1936. The bottle’s back label chronicles the milestones of Kanaan’s illustrious racing career, which includes the 2004 IndyCar Series championship title.

“It started as a joke between Larry (Foyt) and me and now it’s become a reality,” said Kanaan. “It’s pretty cool and something that’s very unique. I never had a wine, and for me, especially, it’s a dream come true to have my name associated with Foyt. I hope people enjoy it and I definitely will!”

Larry Foyt, president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, acknowledges that last year’s race with TK at the wheel brought high hopes to the team. “We had quite an experience at last year’s Indy 500 seeing Tony in the number 14 leading the field. Unfortunately debris and a punctured tire ruined our chances for victory but we are looking forward to coming back even stronger this year!”

Larry Foyt co-founded Foyt Family Wines along with A.J. Foyt IV and Chris Perry.

“Winemakers Tom Meadowcroft and Petar Kirilov hit it out of the park again,” said Managing Partner Chris Perry. “Our winemakers somehow seem to be outdoing themselves with each vintage produced. They set the bar high back in 2008, and I’m thrilled that they continue to best themselves.”

For race fans attending the INDYCAR Grand Prix and/or the Indy 500, the wine will be available for tasting at the Foyt Wine Vault which is managed by Foyt IV.

“We have made some changes at the Vault over the winter,” Foyt IV said. “From staff, to menus, to featured foods and drink. We’re excited to welcome back all of our friends and race fans and certainly extend a warm welcome to guests visiting the Vault for the first time. This 103rd Running wine with ‘TK’ is a sweet-looking package that tastes even better. It’s a great addition to the Foyt Family Wines collection.”

The Foyt No. 103 Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in 750ml bottles and in 1.5L magnums. The wine is available exclusively at the Foyt Wine Vault tasting room or directly from the winery at FoytWines.com.

Foyt Wines Celebrates Month of Speed with Tony Kanaan Tribute Bottle

SONOMA, Calif.—The month of May is a time for celebrations: Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings, and the start of summer vacations. For motorsports fans, May is a celebration of Speed.

In what has become a month of May tradition, Foyt Family Wines is releasing the No. 103 Napa Valley Cabernet, a wine honoring the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. This year’s bottle pays tribute to the career of Tony “TK” Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion.

The collectible wine bottle features the race’s logo and the historic photo of Kanaan in the winner’s circle, drenching himself with the winner’s milk that has become a time honored tradition dating back to 1936. The bottle’s back label chronicles the milestones of Kanaan’s illustrious racing career, which includes the 2004 IndyCar Series championship title.

“It started as a joke between Larry (Foyt) and me and now it’s become a reality,” said Kanaan. “It’s pretty cool and something that’s very unique. I never had a wine, and for me, especially, it’s a dream come true to have my name associated with Foyt. I hope people enjoy it and I definitely will!”

Larry Foyt, president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, acknowledges that last year’s race with TK at the wheel brought high hopes to the team. “We had quite an experience at last year’s Indy 500 seeing Tony in the number 14 leading the field. Unfortunately debris and a punctured tire ruined our chances for victory but we are looking forward to coming back even stronger this year!”

Larry Foyt co-founded Foyt Family Wines along with A.J. Foyt IV and Chris Perry.

“Winemakers Tom Meadowcroft and Petar Kirilov hit it out of the park again,” said Managing Partner Chris Perry. “Our winemakers somehow seem to be outdoing themselves with each vintage produced. They set the bar high back in 2008, and I’m thrilled that they continue to best themselves.”

For race fans attending the INDYCAR Grand Prix and/or the Indy 500, the wine will be available for tasting at the Foyt Wine Vault which is managed by Foyt IV.

“We have made some changes at the Vault over the winter,” Foyt IV said. “From staff, to menus, to featured foods and drink. We’re excited to welcome back all of our friends and race fans and certainly extend a warm welcome to guests visiting the Vault for the first time. This 103rd Running wine with ‘TK’ is a sweet-looking package that tastes even better. It’s a great addition to the Foyt Family Wines collection.”

The Foyt No. 103 Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in 750ml bottles and in 1.5L magnums. The wine is available exclusively at the Foyt Wine Vault tasting room or directly from the winery at FoytWines.com.

Race Report: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. –Auto racing is about results but sometimes the most inspiring runs are those that can’t be defined by the boxscore.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was such a race for Tony Kanaan.

Nicknamed “Ironman” because he is a triathlete in the off-season and holds the record for consecutive INDYCAR starts (now 304), Kanaan proved once again why he is deserving of the title. Starting 21st in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet, Kanaan competed despite a sore left knee and a deeply bruised lower back, a result of his hard crash into the tire barriers during qualifying yesterday.

It didn’t help that he got rear-ended on the first lap by his teammate Matheus Leist as Kanaan swerved to avoid the crash ahead of him in Turn 3 involving Jack Harvey, Marcus Erickson and Spencer Pigot. The impact forced Leist to pit for a new nose assembly because of the damage to his left front wing. Kanaan continued on without pitting.

What Kanaan (and the team) didn’t know was that the impact broke his underwing and tore off the strake which left Kanaan with little downforce and a car that was off the pace. Still he soldiered on, fighting off eventual winner Alexander Rossi to stay on the lead lap for the first part of the race. Eventually he would get lapped when he pitted under green on lap 36 of the 85-lap event. He would get lapped again towards the end, owing more to the torrid pace set by Rossi, who lapped up to the 11th placed car. Kanaan placed 19th.

His frustration at the end of the race was evident in his post-race quote when he said, “I’m ok (physically) but I feel bad, because we don’t have it. We have to figure something out. Very disappointing, very disappointing.”

When asked about his injuries (for which he did receive an injection for pain from the INDYCAR medical team prior to the race), he answered, “It was alright. My injuries were the least of my problems for sure.”

Upon learning of the broken car, the “Ironman” was relieved to know there was a valid reason behind the slow pace.

“When the car got back to the garage, the team discovered that the underwing and the strake was broken and that is a big part of the downforce of the car so it made me feel better because we had a pretty big struggle in the race. That happened on lap 1, so we raced the entire race with a car that was broken.”

Leist struggled in practice and qualifying but started 20th in the row ahead of Kanaan. However, when the green flag dropped, Kanaan passed the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet going into Turn 1 which set up the situation in Turn 3.  Kanaan continued on, Leist dropped back to become the last of the cars on the lead lap when he had to pit for a new nose. Although he ran a good pace throughout the race, he was not able to pass anyone on the tight 11-turn street course.  He finished 15th one lap down.

 “I think if you look through our weekend our race result was not that bad compared to the practice sessions and our qualifying,” Leist said afterwards. “Of course we’re not where we want to be. Definitely shouldn’t be happy and we are not happy with P15. I’m just looking forward to improving the car as much as we can, mainly for the road courses and the street courses – that’s where we’re struggling the most. I’m looking forward to the month of May now, I’m more than excited. We all know we have a good car there. Bring it on.”

Alexander Rossi won the race from the pole for the second straight year. Josef Newgarden finished second. Scott Dixon was awarded third when Graham Rahal was penalized a position for blocking Dixon in the closing laps. Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the top five.

The teams will have an Open Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 24th in preparation for the Indianapolis 500. Prior to the 500, they will compete on the IMS road course on May 11th which will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: GP of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Turn lemons into lemonade. That will be the challenge for Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist tomorrow.

Kanaan, who had run in the top-12 in yesterday’s practice sessions, was optimistic about his chances for breaking through Round 1 in qualifying. However, this morning’s practice session had the team exploring its options in setup changes as the car was not as happy as yesterday.

In qualifying, Kanaan was running sixth out of 11 drivers in Group 1 as all were getting ready to log their “money” lap. Kanaan clipped the inside wall which shot his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet into the tire barrier in Turn 6, ending his chances abruptly. He emerged uninjured but deeply disappointed.

“Somehow we lost our way last night and it was my fault trying to make up for something that we don’t have,” said Kanaan, who will start 21st after losing his two fastest laps because his accident brought out the red flag and stopped the session. “It’s frustrating, I shouldn’t have made the mistake, I should have known better but that’s my competitive side. I’m always going to try to do better and it’s frustrating. Somewhere, somehow last night we lost our way, so we’ve got to regroup tonight and hopefully we’ll have a better race car for tomorrow.”

Leist will start 20th after struggling in practice yesterday and today.

 “Unfortunately things didn’t go our way, we’re struggling a little bit with the car,” said Leist, who posted a time of 1 minute, 7.7317 seconds (104.601mph). “I was just not comfortable driving the car today, pretty much the whole weekend. Hopefully things are going to start to get better. We still have a warm-up tomorrow so we’ll see if we can make some improvements to have a good race car.”

Alexander Rossi won the NTT P1 Award for the second straight year on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit with a time of 1 minute, 6.4811 seconds (106.569 mph). Scott Dixon will start second, his best qualifying effort to date in this race. Rounding out the Firestone Fast 6 are: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, and Graham Rahal.

There will be a 30-minute warmup tomorrow for teams to tweak their race setups. The race will be broadcast live on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

BECKY BARANOUSKI, originally from Placentia, California, is the team coordinator for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, which is a broad title for someone who handles the team’s travel, has secured sponsorships and created events during her stint which  started in 1996. We asked her a few questions…

Q: How did you become interested in racing?

BB: “I dated a man who had a passion for racing. He competed in Club racing and then moved to the Toyota Atlantics that raced as a support series in the Long Beach Grand Prix. He worked for the City of Long Beach and it was his dream to race in the event. I raised enough sponsorship for him to fulfill that dream… and then I was hooked. This is all his fault.”

Q: What was your background before joining the team?

BB: “I worked for Air California aka Air Cal for 13 years changing reservations when there was a flight schedule change, working behind the scenes in reservations and at the end, in Program Development. I was heartbroken when they merged with American Airlines. I turned down a transfer to Texas to work with AA so I could keep my son close to his grandparents in SoCal and took a job planning large convention events and parties. The skills I learned from the airline and event planning has been invaluable in my role at A.J. Foyt Enterprises.”

Q: How many people do you arrange travel for on a race weekend?

BB: “There are 43 people in total. Some from Houston, Florida, Indianapolis, Colorado and New Jersey. Getting them all to the same location at times that work for the track schedule, transportation, etc. is like working on a giant jigsaw puzzle.”

Q: How do you find hotels at new events?

BB: “For our existing events, you form relationships with various hotel properties over the years. It’s nice for the crew to have a sense of familiarity when they pull into town. The challenge comes when there is a new track. Some teams will send their personnel to scout the hotel properties. I rely on various web sites to find the right hotel based on track proximity, traveler reviews and ratings. Location, price and availability are the key factors. Most of the time I get it right. I hear about the ones I don’t.”

Q: How many events (including tests) do you arrange travel for?

BB: “Last year we had 67 events – races and tests. I expect we will have the same, if not more, this year.”

Q: Can you quantify last year’s travel?

BB: “All I can tell you is that last year was the hardest I’ve ever worked for the team. It’s not just booking flights, cars and hotels. It’s about finding the right product at the right price and utilizing all of their ‘specials’ for small businesses that you can to save the company money whenever possible. However, I did remind Larry often that when I was hired, there were only six events total.”

Q: You also find sponsorship for the team, do you enjoy that?

BB: “Sponsorship is one of my favorite parts of the job. When your sponsors are happy, then you know you’ve done a good job for them and for the team. Some of my most memorable sponsors I’ve brought on board have been Alfe, Harrrah’s, Cabo Wabo, and Gibson Guitars. Cabo Wabo was one of my favorites and my way to meet Sammy Hagar…and just to hear A.J. pronounce Cabo Wabo was worth the work. I’ve made long lasting relationships with many of the sponsors. Seeing the sponsor’s name on the car, the hauler, the crew and knowing you helped make that happen is a rush like I’d never known (before). You brought this to the table, to your boss, your hero and it helps pay the salaries of your co-workers/friends. There is a pride that goes with this part of the job, but it is more than pride…it is gratitude for the opportunity, the trust and support they give you to succeed and to make your own dreams come true.”

Some of the people who attended the celebration of Jack Starne’s 50th Anniversary with A.J. Foyt Enterprises are pictured above. 

Q: You’ve arranged events for the team—Jack Starne’s 50th Anniversary at Indy…a lot of work went into that. How did you fit it all in?

BB: “A lot of sleepless nights and many after-work sessions with Nancy and Jack’s wife Elizabeth. But the Jack Starne event was one of the greatest things I’ve ever been involved in. It’s not easy to help plan such a surprise event when the man works across the hall from you. It was a good thing his hearing isn’t that great. It was really an honor to work on the event for someone like Jack. Once the word got out that he was being honored, we had to turn people away to meet the fire codes of the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway. The people in that room for his celebration were the Who’s Who of IndyCar and racing. Legends I’ve heard about for years were there…and if they couldn’t attend, they sent videos. People still remark about that night to me…it was truly special. Of all of the events I’ve planned in my life, this was my favorite–and the only one that went off like clockwork. That will never happen again.”

Q: Your personal touch sets you apart—what makes you care so much?

BB: “Awww, thanks! It’s simple, my obsessive personality, pride in my job, pride in the team and for the person I work for. If you love your job and the people you work for, doing a good job is important.”

Q: What is the best part of your job?

BB: “Indy. When you can go to an event year after year and still get goosebumps when you drive under the bridge to enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway… it’s special. When you take a moment to give a kid a close up of the race car and see the look on their face, the smile growing bigger and bigger, when you bring in a grown man to meet his hero A.J., and watch that man tear up as he leaves, when you see your sponsor grinning from ear-to-ear after leading the Indy 500, it’s those moments that I cherish.”

Q: What is most challenging part of your job?

BB: “Getting everything done in time and within budget. And trying to keep my personal life active and not obsess so much about work.”

Q: What is your best memory affiliated with the team?

BB: “Hands down the 1999 Indy 500 win with Kenny Brack. I was doing the Timing and Scoring for the No. 14 car in the Pagoda which is located directly above Victory Circle at the Speedway. We were close to the finish of the race when all of the officials in Timing and Scoring were gathered behind me. One of them whispered in my ear, ‘Number 14 is in the lead’. I’ve never had so much pressure in my life, with so many people watching to be sure I hit that button when Kenny crossed the start-finish line. Watching your team, your co-workers, your boss and your friends in complete excitement through the window above them was such a joy. It was very surreal and unforgettable. I am looking forward to our next Victory Celebration in Indy.”

Q: What is the most important quality you have that helps you the most in this job?

BB: “An obsessive personality—and keeping a good sense of humor. Both get me through the job. I have a great support group in and out of the office…. and wine… always a lot of wine, preferably Foyt Wine!”

Q: Any advice for someone wanting to get involved in a job like yours?

BB: “I think there is no other job like mine. But if you find one… consider yourself lucky.”

TONY KANAAN on Long Beach: “I’m looking forward to Long Beach, it’s a great event. We had a pretty decent car there last year so hopefully we can turn the situation around. We’ve been running in the top-12 pretty strong but we have to qualify better so working on qualifying is going to be my priority for Long Beach and from then on we can go race.”

MATHEUS LEIST on Long Beach: “I’m excited to go to Long Beach. Personally, the street courses are the circuits that attract me the most and are the places where I feel most comfortable driving the car, so I’m happy to get back there. What I like about them is that they are intimidating and you have no room for mistakes. You have to be a hundred percent right and you have to be a hundred percent focused on what you’re doing, you can’t have any distractions. Last year we had a solid race at Long Beach and I think we might have a great set up. Tony qualified in the top 12, so we’ll see if we can keep up the pace from last year and improve a little bit.”

Last Race: At Barber Motorsports Park, Tony Kanaan started 20th and finished 18th after having to make a late race stop for a splash of fuel while running 12th. Matheus Leist started 15th and finished 20th.

Past Performance at Long Beach: Tony Kanaan won the pole here in 1999 driving for Forsythe Racing and posted his best finish of third in 2009 with Andretti-Green Racing. Last year, Matheus Leist started and finished 14th in his inaugural start in the Grand Prix. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is fourth in 2013 with Takuma Sato who went on to win the race.

ABC Supply is in its 15th season as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s IndyCar team, making it the longest running team sponsor in the NTT IndyCar Series.The company was founded in 1982 by Ken and Diane Hendricks with just three stores. The company now has over 700 stores and topped $10.5 billion in sales in 2018. ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining well over 110,000 associates and customers over the past 14 racing seasons. This weekend the company will entertain over 550 guests.

ABC Supply account Sylvester Roofing Co., Inc., located in Escondido, Calif.,will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Tony Kanaan.

L&W account Nevell Group, Inc., based in Brea, Calif., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest. The company name will be on the engine cover of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Matheus “Matt” Leist.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) on Sunday, April 14, starting at 4:00 p.m. ET. Qualifying will be broadcast live on NBCSN on Saturday starting at 2:45 p.m. ET. All of the practices will be available on NBC’s subscription-based service, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold at https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/indycar. Also available on INDYCAR Radio: Sirius 113, XM 209, IndyCar.com, INDYCAR Mobile app, network affiliates (live).

Race Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

April 7, 2019  BIRMINGHAM – The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama had a story-book ending for some, but for A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply team, the story was bittersweet. Tony Kanaan, who started 19th, appeared to be headed for another top-12 finish in the No. 14 Chevrolet but the team realized they were not going to…

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Qualifying Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

April 6, 2019  BIRMINGHAM—Off-course excursions followed by red flags were commonplace in all three practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park as the NTT IndyCar Series returned to the picturesque track for their 10th anniversary event. In qualifying, however, all rounds went off caution–free! Matheus Leist, who had his own off-track incident in the first practice…

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Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

April 3, 2019  ERIC PRENTICE, of Perkiomenville, Pa. spends his race weekends as the outside tire changer on the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet driven by Matheus Leist. The 6’4”, 305 lb. Prentice, who turns 43 in May, gave up his full-time position with Team Penske after 12 years in 2010 to spend more time…

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Race Report: INDYCAR Classic

March 24, 2019  AUSTIN, Texas–The INDYCAR Classic at the Circuit of the Americas turned into a historic race in its debut on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule with Colton Herta becoming the youngest ever winner at 18 years, 11 months and 25 days old in just his third IndyCar start. The second generation driver put…

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Qualifying Report: INDYCAR Classic

March 23, 2019 AUSTIN – Red flags in NTT IndyCar Series qualifying can make or break a session for a team because they halt the qualifying round at the most opportune — or inopportune — times. In the case of the ABC Supply team today, the red flag did both. Matheus Leist posted a career-best qualifying effort on a permanent road…

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