A.J. Foyt doesn’t care about Long Beach, Phoenix, Birmingham, Detroit, Mid-Ohio or Iowa. The only thing that matters to the legendary Texan is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
And he had plenty to smile about Sunday afternoon.
That’s because Tony Kanaan and rookie Matheus Leist were the two fastest drivers outside the Fast 9 and will start 10th and 11th in the 102nd Indianapolis 500.
“I’m happy for my boys, they did a helluva good job,” said Foyt after his ABC Supply Chevys earned spots on Row 4. “It’s a shame we didn’t get in the Fast 9 yesterday but we had to change gears and with al that rain we ran out of time.
“I expect good things out of Tony, he’s always fast here, but that kid [Leist] did a helluva job. He’s very smooth and fast and he’s only 19 — what else can you ask?”
Kanaan got the largest ovation of the day after averaging 227.664mph and was pretty demonstrative afterward.
“Man this feels like a win for us,” said the 43-year-old veteran. “We’re a little team compared to some but we work very hard so this was the least I could do for them. This is for them. This is the pole in my book.
“And that rookie did well didn’t he? My goal was to guide him through this month and he’s done a great job.”
Leist continued to be impressive at the track he won on a year ago in Indy Lights.
“I love this place and starting near the front is great, I hope we can end up at the front,” said the Brazilian. “My car has been good since the beginning of the month and we’ve had a strong pace.
“I have to thank A.J. and Tony for giving me such a great car.”
Foyt, whose stem cell surgery a year ago has really improved his health, watched his drivers from his motorhome.
“I’ve got a lot of fans and they’re great but I can’t get any peace out there in the pits and I like to watch my cars up close,” said Indy’s original four-time winner.
“But it was a good day and I’m happy. This is all I care about. May in Indianapolis.”