Above: ISC COO Joie Chitwood introduced A.J. Foyt at Wednesday’s Houston Sports Awards, where Foyt was inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame.
A.J. Foyt received another honor and a surprise Thursday night. He was inducted into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame — and then found out he wasn’t the oldest person being honored.
The 84-year-old racing legend joined Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini, who led the “Luv Ya Blue” Oilers to two consecutive AFC titles; Olympic gold medalist and two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman; and 95-year-old Hall of Famer golfer Jackie Burke Jr., who won the Masters and the PGA Championship in the same year (1956), in Houston’s Sports Walk of Fame.
“I was born and raised in Houston and I’ve never left. I don’t care how many times you’ve been honored, it is really special to be honored in your hometown,” said Foyt, who was the Indianapolis 500’s first four-time winner and still holds the record for the most IndyCar wins (67) in a career that spanned five decades.
“And I’m glad to know I’m not the oldest one here!”
Super Tex came barreling out of Houston in the late ‘50s and immediately caught the attention of car owners with his aggressive style and speed. He debuted at Indy at age 23 in 1958 and pulled into Victory Lane for the first time three years later. He scored wins in 1964, 1967 and 1977 – starting in front-engine roadsters and finishing his career in 235 mph ground-effects cars. He also captured the USAC national championship seven times in addition to winning the Daytona 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Foyt is already a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, USAC, sprint car, NASCAR and Motorsport Hall of Fame.
“Celebrating a Lifetime of Houston Sports” is the theme for this year’s awards ceremony which will honor the 70th anniversary of Burke’s first professional win (1949), the 60th anniversary of Foyt’s debut in the Indianapolis 500 (1958), the 50th anniversary of Foreman winning gold in the 1968 Olympics and the 40th anniversary of Pastorini winning back-to-back AFC titles (1978-79).
The latest inductees will be joining inaugural Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Earl Campbell and Hakeem Olajuwon who were honored last year, united by the theme of each wearing the No. 34 in their careers.