A.J. Foyt Receives Spirit Of Ford Award

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A.J. Foyt receives The Spirit Of Ford Award from Edsel Ford II on Thursday night. (Ford Motor Co. photo)

LONG BEACH, Calif. — A.J. Foyt, one of the most legendary American drivers in history, was presented with the prestigious Spirit of Ford Award in a ceremony at the Road Racing Driver’s Club dinner Thursday night.

The Spirit of Ford Award is Ford Motor Co.’s highest honor in auto racing, recognizing lifetime achievement and contribution to the industry both on and off the race track. Foyt becomes the 26th recipient, joining an international list of honorees from all forms of racing and racing media.

Foyt was presented the award during the RRDC dinner by Edsel B. Ford II, great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford and a member of the company’s board of directors.

Foyt was on hand for the dinner along with Dan Gurney, as part of an event helping commemorate the 50th anniversary of the duo’s victory at the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, the first and only victory at Le Mans by an All-American team featuring All-American drivers.

“A.J. was one of my heroes in racing when I first followed the sport,” said Ford.  “When looking back at his magnificent career, the question isn’t what did A.J. drive, but more what didn’t he drive and win in?   His passion for driving and his commitment to the sport since his retirement have made him more than worthy for all the halls of fames he is part of.   Many of his most significant victories — including the ’67 Le Mans win — came with Ford power, and it’s truly my honor to be able to present him with our Spirit of Ford Award.”

Foyt is best known as being the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times, but his career spanned into many forms of racing.  He has a record 67 wins and seven championships in Indy Car racing.  He also was a seven-time winner in the NASCAR Cup series, and has a total of 172 victories and 14 championships during his career.

He is also the only driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona.

He is currently still involved in the sport as the owner of the two-car A.J. Foyt Racing team that competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Spirit of Ford Awards Winners

Bill Stroppe, 1988

Bob Glidden, 1989

Chris Economaki, 1990

Richard Petty, 1992

Bob Bondurant, 1993

Mario Andretti, 1994

Jackie Stewart, 1994

Bud Moore, 1995

Parnelli Jones, 1996

Jim Clark, 1997

Phil Hill, 1998

Stirling Moss, 1998

Bill France, Sr., 1998

Bill France Jr. 1998

Junie Donlavey Jr., 1999

Glen Wood, 1999

Leonard Wood, 1999

Dan Gurney, 1999

Denise McCluggage, 2000

Bill Elliott, 2000

Carroll Shelby, 2001

Wally Parks, 2001

Ned Jarrett, 2003

Mose Nowland, 2005

Jack Roush, 2006

John Force, 2010

Kevin Kennedy, 2011

A.J. Foyt 2017