— A.J. Foyt still remembers his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
With a new driver, JR Hildebrand, and an armored car, he will celebrate his 60th birthday in May. Celebrate your birthday.
The Foyt team announced on Thursday that the Californian will be the No. 1 ABC Supply Chevrolet will drive. This makes him the fourth driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. And the pretty apple red nose with the black stripes on the white body will probably look familiar to racing fans, as it’s the same livery that Foyt had on his winning car in 1961.
AJ Foyt Racing and @abcsupplyracing come together to celebrate their 60th anniversary. We celebrate the 50th anniversary of AJ Foyt’s first Indy500 triumph!
As a tribute to Super Tex, this special paint was designed by @aldofalla to imitate that of the 1961 winner. #FoytsFirst500 | #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/R2vEGl22kQ
– AJ Foyt Racing (@AJFoytRacing) April 8, 2021
All the wins were great races, but the first one is something special that you can never replace, said A.J. Foyt, 86, one of three four-time winners of the race. When you first do something you’ve dreamed of doing your whole life, what else can you do?
First place goes to defending champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing. But Ganassi loaned the number to Voigt in May, allowing the car to return, and team officials were grateful to help honor the first of Voigt’s four wins.
Hildebrand’s crew will also be honored with a win, wearing a uniform inspired by the 1961 George Bignotti crew, which helped lead a record seven cars to victory.
It’s also a big deal for Hildebrand, 33.
The fact that I’m going to be driving in a livery that celebrates A.J.’s first win 60 years ago is incredible to be a part of, he said. I’ve tried to add history to some of my 500 entries in recent years – in ’18 we ran a ’66 based on Jim Clark’s car that made his only NASCAR start, in ’19 we ran a Dan Gurney ’48, and last year we built a ’67 with the numbers from the ’68 turbo cars of Joe Leonard and Graham Hill – but this really goes beyond that.
Hildebrand will attempt to make his 11th consecutive start in the 500 as a member of A.J. Foyt Racing alongside four-time series champion Sebastian Bourdais, Dalton Kellett and Charlie Kimball. Hildebrand has been working with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for three years.
His best result came as a rookie in 2011, when he lost the lead after a crash in the last corner of the race. His damaged car drove through a stonemasonry yard to finish second, behind the late Dan Wheeldon.
Hildebrand has had three other top-10 finishes – in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – but has not finished higher than 11th since. In 2017 he finished sixth for Ed Carpenter Racing and last year he finished 16th after starting 32nd on the 33-car grid.
It brings back a lot of memories, especially when a lot of people said I wouldn’t be 22, Foyt said. Larry [Foyt] jumped on it, I jumped on it. I’m glad we have the car, that it’s first and that it wears my colors.
Qualifying for the race on the 30th. The month of May runs from 22 to 23. The month of May has arrived.