At age 21, AJ Foyt IV has already collected an impressive list of racing accomplishments and accolades. As the grandson of legendary racer A.J. Foyt Jr., Foyt IV has long felt the pressure to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a racing phenomenon. However, along the way the headstrong fourth generation driver made the decision to chase that dream on his own terms by taking his own route.
Foyt IV’s racing career started at age nine when he began racing junior dragsters. From the start it was evident that the Hockley, Texas native has what it takes to make it in the racing world. After winning two track titles and the Division 4 race of champions, Foyt IV left the junior dragsters behind to begin racing go-karts where he immediately began winning races and championships on a regular basis including titles in the International Karting Federation and the World Karting Association.
In 2001, Foyt IV added the Southwest Regional championship in the SCCA Formula Continental Series and rookie-of-the-year title to his resume, claiming six victories in nine starts. The next year, Foyt IV made an impressive debut in the IRL Infiniti Pros Series’ inaugural season by winning from the pole at the season opener at Kansas Speedway. By season’s end, Foyt IV had claimed four victories, four poles and the championship title.
In 2003, it was announced that Foyt IV would run a full IRL Indy Car Series season driving for his grandfather in the family owned and operated team, Foyt Racing. Foyt IV saw one of his childhood dreams realized when he made his debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway becoming the youngest driver in series history to compete in the season opener. On May 25, 2003, his 19 th birthday, he put down another record for becoming the youngest driver in series history to compete in the Indy 500 where he posted an 18 th place finish.
For the young driver, it was a season of learning and adapting to new cars, new tracks and new competitors, some of which were recognized as the world’s greatest drivers. Over the next two seasons, Foyt IV experienced both the success and struggles that go along with competing in open-wheel racing’s elite series. Most importantly however, was the realization that it was time for him to spread his wings and go after his own dreams.
2005 was a pivotal year for Foyt IV, who at the end of the IRL Indy Car Series season decided to switch racing gears, branch out on his own and try his hand at racing stock cars in the NASCAR Busch Series. While it was difficult decision for him to leave the family-owned team, Foyt IV was determined to chase his own dreams and make his own fate.
He joined Akins Motorsports for the final four Busch Series races of the 2005 season and was once again faced with the challenges of adjusting to a new style of car and different tracks. His best performance came in the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he qualified 11 th and finished 24 th.
In 2006, Foyt IV will return to the seat of the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge to run the full 35-race NASCAR Busch Series schedule and compete for the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year honors.