Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR

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 Also available on INDYCAR Radio: Sirius 113, XM 209,, 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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Notes & Quotes: INDYCAR Classic

Notes & Quotes: INDYCAR Classic March 19, 2019  Team President LARRY FOYT opines on spending summers on Lake Travis, the challenges facing his team this season and racing at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). We asked him a few questions… Q: The first race at COTA—what are you looking forward to? LF: “It’s going to…

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Race Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

March 10, 2019 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—“Tough day.” So summed up Tony Kanaan as he sat on the pit wall after finishing 15th in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the season opener for the NTT IndyCar Series. For teammate Matheus Leist and his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet, it was a case of wrong…

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Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—There’s only one way to go for A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Racing team tomorrow – forward.


Unusual circumstances in the qualifying session today resulted in the team cars starting side by side in the 11th row of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.


Kanaan never posted an official lap time due to ill timing and two red flags that stopped track action in the critical last six minutes of the 10-minute session. First Marco Andretti brought out a red flag when he spun and came to rest in pit lane. The track went green and Kanaan was set to lay down a lap only to have another red flag wave–this time for Santino Ferrucci’s slide into the tire barrier which effectively shut down the track for the balance of the session.


Of the four cars that did not post an official lap time in the first group of 12 qualifiers, relative practice speeds were used, so Kanaan will start 21st.


“I can’t call this qualifying, we got two red flags so nobody ever put a fast lap in our group,” a disappointed Kanaan said. “The fastest lap was an out lap at a 1:03 and we were running .59s. It’s a shame but it was out of our control. We didn’t cause the red flags, but we just didn’t get a lap in.”


Matheus Leist, who did get a lap in during his group session, pitted for a second set of new tires, hoping to take advantage of the track which was getting faster with each passing minute as cars laid down more rubber. Leist had to lift as he was getting up to speed on his final set of red tires because Scott Dixon spun and then rejoined the field directly in front of Leist. Because Leist was not on his flying lap, Dixon was not penalized for impeding another driver.


Leist was philosophical about the situation preferring to focus on the race tomorrow where he will start alongside his teammate in the 22nd slot.

“It’s not the result we wanted in qualifying, we will be starting from the back tomorrow so we have a lot of work to do. Even so I’m looking forward to the race because it is a place that I like and I usually drive pretty good. So we’ll try to move to the front and have a good result tomorrow.”


Will Power won his eighth pole in 10 attempts here with a lap time of 1 minute, 0.4594 of a second (107.179 mph). Teammate Joseph Newgarden was second followed by rookie Felix Rosenqvist, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi.


The 110-lap race around the 1.8 mile, 14-turn street course will be broadcast live tomorrow on NBC Sports Network starting at 12:30pm ET.

Notes & Quotes: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (TSO NOTE: MUST READ)

[TSO NOTE: The following press release from Foyt Racing is the winner of the preview contest so far – and sorry to all my PR rep friends who didn’t know there was a contest – I just made that up when I saw this! Anne wins this contest simply on the fact she has a…

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