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IndyCar: Foyt released from hospital after complications

IndyCar Series icon and team owner AJ Foyt has been discharged from hospital, 21 days after undergoing triple heart bypass surgery.
IndyCar team owner AJ Foyt is back home with his family after being released from hospital on Tuesday, three weeks after he underwent triple heart bypass surgery

Foyt, who turns 80 in January, was admitted to the Baylor-St Luke's Medical Center in Houston, Texas on Friday, November 7 with intermittent chest pains. Subsequent procedures revealed blockages in arteries where Foyt had received several stents in the past, necessitating coronary bypass surgery on November 12.

Although the initial procedure was completely successful, Foyt subsequently developed serious complications with his lungs which meant that he had to be kept on a ventilator for eight days to allow his lungs to recover full functionality.

Ten days in the Intensive Care Unit was followed by an additional ten days in the medical centre to complete his recover, resulting in Foyt spending a total of 25 days in hospital - the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner's longest-ever spell in a medical facility.

"It's been pretty rough but I guess I slept through the roughest part," joked Foyt. "I had some problems that most people don't have after open heart surgery so I made my doctors work extra hard but they saved my life.

"We've turned a corner so every thing's pretty good," he added, in a press statement released by the AJ Foyt Racing team on Thursday. "I've got a long way to go but I'm feeling better every day."

Foyt is expected to make a full recovery but his doctors have told him that it may take longer than he is anticipating.

Foyt is not known for his patience in such matters, and throughout his career has consistently demonstrated a force of will that has undoubtedly contributed to his holding the record for the most IndyCar wins with 67 victories, the last of which came in 1981 at the Pocono 500. During his racing career he also had seven wins in the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500, and victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Foyt's racing career ended after a huge accident IndyCar accident at Road America in 1990 when Foyt was 55 years old. He suffered a broken left knee, broken left heel and dislocated right foot when his car went off at the first turn in spectacular fashion halfway through a 200-mile race as he duelled with Dominic Dobson. Foyt had been badly injured several times before that, including a crash in the inaugural Michigan 500 in 1981 in which he broke his right arm, and a stock car crash at Charlotte, N.C. in 1989 saw him receive a serious concussion.

Since hanging up his racing firesuit, Foyt has kept himself involved in the sport as a team owner. AJ and his son Larry recently announced the expansion of their IndyCar team to a two-car line-up, signing British racer Jack Hawksworth to race in the new #41 entry alongside former F1 driver Takuma Sato who is staying with the team for a third season in the race seat of the #14 car. ABC Supply is to act as primary sponsor on both cars for the 2015 season.

In October, Foyt purchased a building in Speedway, Indiana which will be used by the expanded race team as a Midwest base during the summer.

Related Pictures

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Takuma Sato, AJ Foyt, Larry Foyt, and the A.J. Foyt Enterprises team with the Verizon P1 Award (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
AJ Foyt (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
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