AJ Foyt recovers from latest round of surgery
3 July 2013
AJ Foyt has had successful hip replacement surgery to tackle chronic pain in his left leg, his IZOD IndyCar Series team announced on Tuesday.
“I was a little nervous about this surgery but they had me up and walking the same day," said Foyt. "I'm sore but nothing like I was before the surgery. I guess I waited too long to have it done though because my hip was in really bad shape. They couldn't believe I was walking at all!"
Foyt underwent the procedure on Monday at a Houston hospital close to his home in Texas, and is expected to make a full recovery. However, he is expected to be away from trackside operations for at least a month while recuperating and will watch this weekend's Pocono event from his hospital room.
“The doctors tell me it will be six to eight weeks before I can travel," said Foyt.
The 78-year-old has been suffering from chronic pain in his left leg for much of the year, and underwent a laminectomy in the lumbar region of his spine to relieve sciatic nerve pain in April that forced him to be absent from the Long Beach event in which his driver Takuma Sato secured the team's first win since since Kansas 2002.
Three-wide start at Pocono and Fontana
The IZOD IndyCar Series has announced that this weekend's race at the Pocono Raceway tri-oval will feature a three-wide start, like that of the Indianapolis 500.
"Given the speeds of our starts, the location of accelerations zones, the spacing between rows and the length of the frontstraights at each track, we have decided to move forward with a three-wide lineup for the initial starts," explained IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield.
The three-wide start will also be used at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, restoring a tradition for the 1970s and 80s 'Triple Crown' that was held with three-wide starts at the same three circuits for nearly two decades.
This weekend sees the first IndyCar race at Pocono since 1989. Series officials have amended the aerodynamic specifications laid out in the rule book for the event to add underwing strakes to the list of optional parts that allow the teams to generate more downforce on the 2.5-mile circuit.
Briscoe to miss Pocono qualifying
Ryan Briscoe will not take part in Saturday qualifying for this weekend's Pocono IndyCar 400 race, the Panther Racing team announced this week, although the Australian will be back behind the wheel and starting from the back of the grid for the race itself on Sunday.
That's because Briscoe will competing for Level 5 Motorsports in the American Le Mans Series Northeast Grand Prix race at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.
"It's great that Panther is giving me the opportunity to race at Pocono even though I won't be here Saturday for practice and qualifying," said Briscoe. "Fortunately, I will be able to prepare the car for the race and it was a big bonus having the test day last week and then the open test on Thursday to get as much track time as possible.”
“I'm not concerned about missing qualifying and having to start in the back of the field," said Panther CEO John Barnes. "Pocono is a big place and we'll have 400 miles to help Ryan work his way to the front."
Pocono will be Briscoe's fourth start in the #4 National Guard Panther Racing car, which will sport a special red, white and blue livery in honor of the Fourth of July weekend that also highlights the 150th anniversary of the introduction of the Medal of Honor.
“This is obviously a big weekend for us with it being the Fourth of July and we've got some important guests that will be attending the race, so we're looking forward to getting to Pocono on Wednesday and getting to work,” said Barnes.
Pippa Mann returns for Pocono
Pippa Mann will return to the cockpit of the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car for this weekend's Pocono Indy 400, the driver announced on Twitter on Wednesday.
"Just confirmed- I drive the 18 this w/end!!," Mann posted on the social networking site. "HUGE thank you to Dale Coyne Racing and Dale himself for making this happen today!!!
"Been pretty nervous, antsy/edgy couple of days for me, cannot reiterate enough that this [would] not have happened without all Dale's efforts," she added.
Following the announcement, Mann will also take part in the eight-hour IndyCar open test at Pocono on Thursday with the other teams and drivers competing in this weekend's event.