SI Vault
 
Day And Night, A.J. Was Just Right
Sam Moses
April 01, 1985
Indy superstar A.J. Foyt, co-driving with France's Bob Wollek, added a grueling 12 Hours of Sebring to his lengthy string of victories
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
April 01, 1985

Day And Night, A.j. Was Just Right

Indy superstar A.J. Foyt, co-driving with France's Bob Wollek, added a grueling 12 Hours of Sebring to his lengthy string of victories

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

At 8:25 Bell is coming up behind Foyt and gobbling up ground fast. When he blows past, the lead is down to just two laps—less than five minutes to make up now, with 2� hours in which to do it.

But then Super Tex shows 'em why he's called that. Did he turn up the boost in his engine, or his mettle? Whichever, he doesn't allow Bell to gain another inch. Using the one operative taillight of the second-place Porsche to show him around the dark track, Foyt follows Bell down to the 2:23s. For the rest of their shared shift behind the wheel they run together, the bazooka-like tailpipes of their coupled 962s belching fiery twin plumes of turbocharger afterburn whenever they back off the gas.

Shortly after Bell's next gas stop, his gearbox begins getting worse, and he is instructed to baby the car. Still, he comes back in the pit smoking, and a bucket of water is poured over the gearbox to cool it off. "Something's come apart in there," says Holbert, indicating that it's the end of the sensational charge from last place toward first. At 11 p.m. the Foyt/Wollek Porsche's winning margin is back up to four laps, and they have achieved a record average speed of 113.787 mph.

What an odd couple Foyt and Wollek are: Super Tex and the Frenchman. And a winning one, too: They also took the Daytona 24-hour in February. They were first teamed at the 1983 Daytona when car owner Preston Henn recruited A.J. in the middle of the race. The move had temporarily outraged Wollek, because at that time Foyt hadn't driven in a sports car race since his Le Mans win in 1967. That prompted Wollek to utter an unprintable epithet on live television, to which Foyt responded in less flamboyant terms. But Wollek cooled off when Foyt drove perfectly in the rain, and they won the race. Today they are bosom-buddy teammates who like to needle each other. Wollek usually picks on Foyt's big belly, Foyt on Wollek's Gallic mispronunciations. But nobody picks on them out there on the racecourse.

1 2