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A.J. at Spa?


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#1 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 23:07

I have just been told by a normally reliable source that A.J. Foyt practiced the Eagle at Spa the weekend of the 1967 Belgian GP with the intent of racing that weekend. The story is that he decided against it and went home. This was the week after he and Gurney won LeMans.

Is this common knowledge? I have absolutely never heard it before - but I learn something every day. But this one, I just think I would have heard of.

I was at Spa for the GP in '66, '68, and '70 but missed Dan's big year in '67, so I have no first hand experience on which to confirm or refute this. Anyone else know of this?

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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 23:17

DSJ's report in Motor Sport says AAR were intending to run McLaren in a second car, but hadn't a reliable spare engine available. No mention of Foyt. There are several gaps in the entry list though - Gurney was #36 but there was no 37 or 38 and Bonnier was #39.

Doth the plot thicken?

#3 Gerr

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 06:53

Don't know if he practiced at Spa or not.

But HNM in R&T had this in the Dutch GP report.

"I gather that none other than the celebrated A.J. Foyt is due to drive the spare (Eagle) at Spa ( a classic case of jumping off the deep end to learn to swim ) and possibly Bruce McLaren will get the third. I can only imagine that Goodyear, who supplied a fair amount of support, has summoned Foyt, as he could make as much from one dirt race as he could from winning five GPs."

And in the Belgian GP report.

"Eagle brought only one car as while McLaren had tested another successfully at Goodwood, the engine had given trouble and could not be sorted out in time. Likewise, Foyt heard that there were better pickings at Trenton, not to mention that it sometimes rained at Spa, so he stayed in the States. "

Manney was incorrect, Foyt raced at Langhorne, June 18th, 1967.

#4 Vicuna

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 09:07

This is amazing!

I wonder if it was a 50/50 thing or if the chances were very very slim.

I guess AJ wasn't that keen but if not, was that because of the risk of not cutting it, or not wanting to fall in love with it and then have to do all the travelling.

#5 russomey

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 16:10

It is interesting that Foyt may have been worried about the rain. I mean come on - not AJ Foyt!

;)

#6 doc540

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 16:24

Though without a link, I've read his comments regarding the "delicate" construction of European F1 cars and his reluctance to risk his neck in them. The combination of spider-web-thin suspensions, rain, Spa, and a light purse could have added up to an unattactive sum.

Foyt preferred to risk his neck in familiar if not equally or more treacherous environs.

#7 dbltop

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 19:08

But by 1967 he had driven a delicate Lotus on the ovals in the US. I don't think bravery or lack of, was the deciding factor.

#8 Gerr

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 19:46

I think Manney's comments about Foyt were 'tongue-in-cheek" and not to be taken seriously. He had won at LeMans the weekend before, where it also sometimes rains.

The point is, AAR could not provide a second car.

I would guess that Manney wrote these comments after he was absolutely sure that Foyt was not still in Europe.

#9 Don Capps

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 20:22

Overlooked in all this is that Foyt had contracts to race at Mosport Park AND Langhorne the weekend of the 17th & 18th of June.

The Mosport event was rained out and rescheduled for 1 July, but the Langhorne event saw everyone happy and excited -- including Foyt -- about the Gurney & Eagle victory at Spa earlier in the day.

I think it is safe to assume that HNMIII was having a bit of fun....