Craig Brooks joined AJ Foyt Racing in October 2022 as Team Manager following 12 years as technical director to the INDY NXT presented by Firestone.
Alongside his role of Team Manager, Brooks also serves as race strategist to NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie Benjamin Pedersen who drives the No.55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet.
Ahead of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend, Brooks sat down with AJ Foyt Racing fora Q&A.
Q: What was the first race you went to? What was the first INDYCAR race you attended?
CB: “My first race was the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 1965 when I was four. My first INDYCAR race was at Phoenix in 1977. “
Q: Did you think you would have a career in INDYCAR racing? Was it a goal for you?
CB: “I wasn’t sure where I would end up but I always knew it would be in racing.”
Q: Why did you want to come to AJ Foyt Racing?
CB: “I loved AJ’s sprint car back in the 60’s. I can remember watching it on television. And who wouldn’t want to work for the Legend!”
Q: How do you handle having the team operate out of two different locations?
CB: “Not going to lie, it is difficult. I think to overcome the challenge it’s just going to take better communication which is becoming better.”
Q: Describe a day in the life of Craig Brooks…
CB: “Up in the mornings with our two dogs Kona and Huck, off to work where it’s mostly managing people and answering emails. I’m learning more every day!”
Q: How does managing a smaller team like Foyt differ from managing one of the larger teams?
CB: “I believe you get to know the team more on a personal level, people don’t get lost in the shuffle.”
Q: How does the team develop race strategy prior to races?
CB: “We have a basic game plan and strategy going into any given event, a base line if you will, and go from there depending on the conditions.”
Benjamin Pedersen in the No.55 Sexton Properties Chevrolet is looking forward to his first Long Beach race weekend saying:
Long Beach race weekend, I’m very excited. It’s my first time racing at Long Beach. I’ll be learning a new track. Very excited. It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere event. Historically, the team has done pretty well there. Just getting caught up to speed as quickly as I can, and pushing as hard as I can, and see if I can deliver a strong result.”
Santino Ferrucci in the No.14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet is hoping to put to good use what the team learned at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg presented by RP Funding last month.
Looking forward to Long Beach. I haven’t raced there since 2019, so I’m rather excited to be back. Hopefully the track hasn’t changed too much. As long as we don’t make any mistakes this weekend, I think the team will be in really good shape, and we will keep building on what we learned in St. Pete