INDIANAPOLIS — A.J. Foyt has missed the better part of this season while recovering from a variety of ailments. Foyt returned to the track Tuesday as his team tested at California’s Auto Club Speedway and Wednesday he spoke with the media on the weekly IZOD IndyCar Series teleconference.
Foyt addressed his return to the track.
“It was a lot better than being in a hospital bed, I’ll assure you that,” said the 78-year-year-old four-time Indianapolis 500 winner. “I really enjoyed getting back there with the group and the crew and all that and really enjoyed it. It was a long day because I flew out there that morning and flew back last night. I’m kind of tired today a little bit, but we’ll bounce back pretty strong.”
Foyt talked frankly about the medical issues he has been addressing.
“The biggest thing is at the beginning of the year I had to have some back surgery,” Foyt said. “I had to have my back operated on. Last year I wound up having actually surgery for a rotator cuff, and my knee got a staph infection and they had to operate on me three times to take my knee in and out and wash it. Then I got over that and my back was messed up from racing through the years. So I went earlier this year for that.”
But that wasn’t the end of his health woes.
“I went to Indy and I went down healthy and then I came back and kept having pain, pain, pain,” Foyt explained. “That’s when they said you have a hip that’s all arthritic, and I had arthritis in it and it healed up. I said, ‘What are you saying there is nothing you can do about it?’
“I was having a lot of pain. I couldn’t put my own socks on or nothing or bend my leg. They said you’re just going to have to have a hip. So I said, ‘Well, get with it.’ I didn’t know it was going to hurt like it did. It’s been pretty hard coming back. So that’s been the big problem. But everything’s looking good now. I’m on the downhill run. Every day is like a new day with me. I’m not 100 percent, don’t get me wrong, but I’m up to about 85 percent.”