A.J. Foyt I want to have respect for you as a car owner, I really do, but all you do — all you do — is hire scrubs and ride buyers to fill your seats.
Recently A.J. Foyt Enterprises announced that Tim Paul will be racing for them in the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2014. While I’m happy to see an IZOD Indycar team developing an Indy Lights team I’m frustrated at their choice of driver, he’s yet another out of nowhere hire like so many Foyt has made in his career as an owner.
I’ve never heard of Tim Paul. Apparently he’s from Putnam Valley,New Jersey, driven midgets and F-2000 cars without garnering any acclaim or notice. F-2000 is not to be confused with the more competitive USF-2000 series that is part of the Road to Indy ladder.
The plan is to have Paul run both the F-2000 and the USF-2000 series in 2013 before running the Firestone Indy Lights in 2014. Really. He’s going to skip the highly competitive Star Mazda series and go straight to Indy Lights. Really.
Tim Paul will turn 28 before next season starts. I can think of at least ten or twelve American drivers who are eight, ten even twelve or fourteen years younger than who have done more to distinguish themselves than Tim Paul. Paul has stood out to the people at CellMark, an international logistic company that probably has someone related to Paul employed at a high level.
In racing he who has cash goes as fast as he’s capable, even if he’s not very capable. Tim Paul reminds me of Paul Dana. Dana was a journalist turned driver who about Tim Paul’s age when he embarked on a racing career. Dana used Ethanol’s funding and handful of professional starts to buy a highly coveted seat at Rahal Letterman Racing. Dana was killed when he struck Ed Carpenter’s prone car on the apron of Homestead Motor Speedway during a practice at approximately 170 miles per hour under caution, during practice.
Paul is yet another name in the parade of mediocrity that is Foyt’s driver alumni. That list includes Jeff Bucknam, Airton Dare, Donnie Beechler, Paul Durant, Shigeaki Hattori, Victor Meria and about dozen more another equally forgettable drivers. The only driver who has made more than spot starts for Foyt and gone on to any sort of career was Robby Gordon. Other than Paul Tracy and Ryan Hunter-Reay who made a few spot starts in 2009 the car has mostly been filled with ride buyers and drivers at the end of their careers.
I get it, it takes money to race in Indycar, but ABC construction has been on the sidepods of Foyt’s cars for almost a decade now. The understanding is the ride is largely funded and drivers don’t need to bring much, if any money to the seat. So why then are Foyt’s driver selections so often worthless? Why do drivers with funding choose Dale Coyne Racing, HVM, Conquest and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing over Foyt? Part of the reason is Foyt has a reputation for doing things on the cheap. Tracy allegedly quit after one race because he believed Foyt’s cars were not safe to race, allegedly, according to rumors.
There is a list of qualified American drivers who have proven they have everything but money. Jonathan Summerton, John Edwards, Colin Braun, Bryan Clauson are only some of the American guys who could/should be in Indycar. But A.J. Foyt doesn’t want any of these guys, he doesn’t hire people drivers who come up through the ladder series, instead he likes random scrubs like Scott Mayer, who failed Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Practice, twice.
A.J man, I want to respect your team. Call me when you’re serious about running it like a race team and not a hobby farm.