AJ Foyt IV will return to the IndyCar Series fray - and the #14 AJ Foyt Racing Dallara - for this weekend's Bombardier Learjet 550k round at Texas Motor Speedway, spearheading a series of driver changes in the lower reaches of the field.
The Texan will be returning home in more senses than one this weekend, as he slips back into his grandfather's team after sitting out the Milwaukee round last weekend. Prior to the AJ IV had partnered Vitor Meira at Indianapolis, but had to watch as Paul Tracy was offered the #14 - in which he began his IRL career - for the ABC Supply Co/AJ Foyt 225. Despite high hopes, Tracy could not better 17th on his debut with the team, but the Canadian's absence this weekend had been predicted prior to Milwaukee, given the Foyt family's connection to the Lone Star State.
"Anthony has always run well at this track," Foyt Sr said of his decision to rehire his grandson, "He hasn't had the results, but most of that was because of things that he couldn't help - tyres going flat or problems on pit-stops. He likes the track, which is good because a lot of drivers don't care for it. Plus, we've worked with him, so we know what he likes, and he knows what he wants from these cars."
Foyt IV's best result on the high-banked oval is tenth, from his previous stint with the family team in 2004, and he admits that he is looking forward to be getting back behind the wheel.
"I really like the track, and not just because it's in Texas," he admitted, "It suits my style, it's fast and the racing is close. Hopefully, we get the result we're looking for. The track is pretty easy to run by yourself in practice and qualifying, but it gets much tougher in the race. The racing is real close and the car doesn't handle as well in the traffic, but you're still trying to run the same speed, so it gets pretty tough. But I enjoy racing at Texas....."
Foyt won't be the only change in the line-up this weekend, with Jaques Lazier and Milka Duno both listed as returning to the series.
Lazier, who has been out of a regular ride for the best part of two seasons, has been summoned to provide tail-end newcomer Team 3G with the sort of experience that rookie Stanton Barrett has so far been unable to muster. Team owner Greg Beck has said that Barrett could return to the #98 at some point deeper into the campaign, but has not set a definite date.
Duno, meanwhile, will be back in the #23 Dreyer & Reinbold entry after Tomas Scheckter 'filled in' at Milwaukee. The Venezuelan has a pre-arranged programme with DRR and will slot back in alongside rookie Mike Conway this weekend.
The official entry list has one further vacancy, however, with Conquest Racing indicating that it is to return after missing Milwaukee, but yet to confirm the identity of its driver. While the fuss made over ensuring that Alex Tagliani made the field at Indianapolis - despite not qualifying - suggests that the Canadian, and the backing he brings to the team, would be first choice, Scheckter could be in the frame, having been linked with the team's second seat prior to the 500.
Bruno Junqueira, who eventually qualified the second Conquest car which Tagliani took to rookie of the year honours, is otherwise engaged with the AIM Autosport Grand-Am team at Watkins Glen.