Larry Foyt, President of AJ Foyt Racing, says that the team has had a phenomenal start to May and that he puts this down to the work they did during the off-season. Speaking to Paddock Eye at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, Foyt said:
With many of our engineering hires and new drivers, we knew we could be competitive here at Indy. We felt like we could. it is really lovely to see that all the team has effort has paid off. You don’t realize it here at Indianapolis when you go the speeds you are, and everything is so close. Literally, hundreds of seconds are essential. All the detail, all the work the guys do, the attention all the engineers have to put in to the weather to the changing conditions It takes everybody working together to make fast cars work here at Indy.
How has Benjamin Pedersen settled into the team in his first season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES?
It was really nice to have him embedded with the team last year and be with us, getting to know him a little bit. He got to know the players on our team a little bit. So that was really nice. He has been really impressive here at Indy, just so calm and cool. He’s a cool kid. He doesn’t get rattled easily and has done a really nice job. We’re not really sure why his car didn’t have more speed in qualifying, we are still looking at all of that because we really felt like the car had more speed in it. but he’s done a great job and to be the fastest rookie that’s super cool.
We all know Santino, he has done phenomenally well too. What do you put that down to? Is that the influence of the addition of Michael Cannon?
i think a little bit of all of it. They have worked together, to already have that relationship. There have been a couple of instances where Mike’s been able to say to Santino, hey, remember in 2018, you felt this and that and he says oh yeah, So that kind of relationship I guess and the familiarity with each other is something that probably we have missed as a team with so many personnel changes of the last few years and not been able to have that consistency in people and drivers. So that’s really cool that they know each other and Danielli and Santino working well so with Cannon coming in the technical director role it’s Danielli doing most of the talking with him.
It’s been really good and Santino did a super job qualifying. he’s excited about the race car. We weren’t worried about the speeds the other day. We were just working on traffic and he was really happy.
What would be a good result for you regarding the race this weekend?
We want to win; This race is so tough to win. Everyone is so close. The qualifying speed is excellent. Winning this race is challenging; you have got to execute probably seven pitstops well. You can’t have any failures, you can’t have any mistakes; the driver has to hit his marks. You have to have the cautions fall your way; you can always be a victim of some bad luck here where the cautions fall. So you have to execute a perfect race. It’s good to be starting towards the front.
Over the last few weeks, it feels like if you get stuck at the back of a 20-car train, I think it’s pretty tough to move up the field. Someone has to make a mistake in front of you. So, I guess being up toward the front. i like where both our cars are starting. Up toward the front, hopefully, be able to avoid any issues that could come about but be within striking distance at that last stint.
How impressed have you been with how close the field is this year compared to previous years?
Everybody is so good, it’s just crazy. When three-tenths in the Indy road course qualifying are separating 10 to 15 cars it is tough man. It makes it so difficult. It’s super for the sport and for the fans, you can see one weekend one team seems to have it figured out and the next week someone else pops up at a different track so that’s the beauty of IndyCar different tracks suit different drivers. I have never seen the field this talented from start to finish. The front to the back.
It is just intense how close everything is and it’s always a lot of work but it’s tough right now for sure.
What do you think Michael Cannon’s long-term impact at the team will be?
What an experience level he brings to the table so, it’s been awesome how he’s trying to cultivate our young engineers. He’s letting them do their thing but also keeping them on the path of where he wants them to go and helping them learn what to look for from what he thinks are important metrics of setting these cars up.
He’s super to work with, we are having a really good time. I think he’s having a really good time. I am just glad he was up for the challenge. I think that is something here he was looking for. We’re having a lot of fun and we are excited with how this month has gone. We really put a high priority on this event and we are glad that it has paid off.