Foyt's car bumped at Bristol
Cox News Service
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Sometimes Larry Foyt's cars aren't fast enough to make the starting field for a Nextel Cup race. And when he does get in, they're often too slow to keep up.
But at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, Foyt's car didn't even make it out of the inspection session prior to qualifying for Sunday's Food City 500. NASCAR confiscated Foyt's car, and the No. 42 of Jamie McMurray, because they failed to meet NASCAR's specifications.
Using aluminum templates and tape measures, inspectors determined that the rear window of McMurray's car was off-center. Foyt's car didn't fit the left and right longitudinal templates.
The cars will be taken to NASCAR's Research and Development center in Concord, N.C., where they will be inspected. Penalties could be assessed later.
McMurray's crew quickly unloaded a back-up car, and he qualified sixth for Sunday's race.
Foyt, whose struggling, unsponsored team barely got the one car ready to race, was forced to withdraw because he had no back-up.
"It's a bummer," Foyt said. "With all these body rules and templates, (NASCAR is) pricing out the smaller teams."
Foyt; said seemingly minor changes in body dimensions from one season to the next are huge for teams like his, explaining that his crew tried to modify a 2003 body rather than starting again from scratch. It didn't work.
"It's not like we're trying to break their rules or get away with anything," he said. "You're talking about little bitty measurements. ... It's really frustrating."
Foyt spent the afternoon greeting fans and crew members who stopped by his team's hauler.
After winning often while coming up through the racing ranks, he has gotten used to disappointments. The NASCAR trail has been a rough road for the 27-year-old son of racing icon A.J. Foyt.
Last year, his rookie season in the Cup, he finished 41st in points after making only 20 starts.
The lone bright spot came in the season finale at Homestead, when car owner Ray Evernham loaned him one of the Dodges normally driven by Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield. He qualified 12th, ran on the lead lap all day and finished 16th.
"That was huge," Foyt said. "I was pretty beat down and debating whether I should continue trying to do this. That rejuvenated the fire."
Evernham, who with his selection of Kasey Kahne has shown his ability pick potential winners, said he wasn't surprised Foyt ran well at Homestead.
"He has talent; he just hasn't gotten a fair shot," Evernham said.
Foyt vows he'll push on and be among the entries next week at Texas.
"I know there are a lot of people who say I can't drive, but I don't let that bother me," he said. "I think I'm just going to keep giving it my best, and someday it'll all turn around."