A.J. Foyt sounds off on F1 going up against NASCAR in Texas

A.J. Foyt attends the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.

Jeff Zelevansky

With two major races being held in the same state this weekend, it has created a Texas-sized controversy that has been brewing ever since Formula One announced the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas would be held the same day as the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

TMS President and General Manager Eddie Gossage has been a loud critic of the Formula One race in Austin, Texas being held the same day as his NASCAR race – an important race in the “Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup.” Gossage’s track in Forth Worth, Texas has had this date on the NASCAR calendar since 2004 while this is just the third United States Grand Prix at COTA.

The greatest race driver ever produced by the state of Texas – Houston’s A.J. Foyt – offered his opinion on the scheduling of the F1 race in direct competition with NASCAR at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Well, actually you got Formula One, that I never did ever see go very big in the United States, and Eddie Gossage does a great job promoting the race,” said Foyt, the only man to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “I have nothing against Formula One, don’t get me wrong, but I think the NASCAR race would be a better race to go see than the Formula One. I could be wrong. But I really think it could be a lot better race.

“I really don’t know much about Formula One, so I’d be talking out of turn saying one thing or another. I know it’s a very strong operation. It’s been around for many years. Still, it’s not like the Indy 500, or a good high-bank race in Texas with IndyCars. I’ve always loved IndyCars. 

IndyCar: Hawksworth, Sato to run full-time for Foyt in 2015

“I had a chance a couple times to drive Formula One. I never was that much interested because I never cared to wear a necktie each time I went to eat breakfast. I’m a Texas boy and I just loved racing in the IndyCars and Sprint cars.”

Foyt – the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 — turns 80 in January but that hasn’t slowed him down. On Oct. 29 he announced the addition of driver Jack Hawksworth of England to his team joining fellow driver Takuma Sato of Japan.

“I was thinking about coming out of retirement but my wife told me, ‘You’re turning 80 years old in January, all you’d be doing is holding up the field,’” Foyt said. “I kind of agreed with her.”

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