SI Vault
William Nack
September 30, 1991
As his unparalleled career winds down, A.J. Foyt still looks for fulfillment
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September 30, 1991

Twilight Of A Titan

As his unparalleled career winds down, A.J. Foyt still looks for fulfillment

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Reluctantly, A.J. left. When the car he was supposed to drive broke down, another car owner, Preston Henn, urged him to jump in his Porsche 935. "I've never driven a Porsche," A.J. protested. "I don't even know the shift pattern."

There was a derelict Porsche sitting nearby, and Henn persuaded Foyt to sit behind the wheel and learn the pattern. With Bob Wollek as his co-driver, Foyt raced to victory at Daytona. After the grueling event Foyt remembers thinking what he had never thought before: If I never won another race, I wouldn't care.

It all seemed so quick and unfair. So quick that Tony forgot to put away the hammer, the one he left above A.J.'s head, and so unfair that it would grieve and trouble the son for years. "And a lot of times I get tears in my eyes," A.J. would say. "I know it's silly. But it's like I lost something that I never really had. You know, it's kind of like a dream. Am I in a dream? Am I going to wake up or what? I guess I lost it all so quick.... We all worked our butts off, and when my parents can finally turn around and have life easy, everything was just swept out from under 'em."

It left A.J. trapped in an unending search....

Not long before the old man died, in a hospital room in Houston, Tony's doctor, Gary Friedman, gave two generations of Foyts his final notice at bedside: "If you have anything to say to each other, or you're holding back. I think maybe you ought to say it. I'll wait outside."

Friedman left, and A.J. began to bite his lip.

"I've assigned the accounts over to you," Tony said. "You know everything. You know what I want you to do. What do you think?"

A.J. could hardly speak. "Well, Daddy, things aren't working like we hoped."

"I know it," said Tony.

"You have anything you want to talk about?"

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