Foyt car carries tribute to fathers
Mike Jacobi of Milwaukee, whose father Kenny was an avid fan of A.J. Foyt, approached Foyt's ABC Supply team with a personal sponsorship proposal for the Milwaukee 225 that will be contested on Father's Day (June 19).
The team normally doesn't accept such offers, but because of the special circumstances team principals decided to act upon it. When Jacobi's check arrived at the team's Texas race shop, Foyt chose to return it.
"I appreciate the work my marketing team does and they don't do anything without my approval, but the more I thought about it I couldn't take money under the circumstances," said Foyt, who was a seven-time winner at the Mile. "I never do this kind of thing because it can get complicated, but this time I made an exception. I'm glad I did."
This weekend, the No. 14 ABC Supply car's tire ramps will feature the words: Honoring Kenny Jacobi & all racing fathers - Mike Jacobi.
"My father was AJ Foyt's biggest fan," Jacobi said. "Now I have been able to honor my father and other fathers who developed similar bonds with their sons and daughters through racing and who, like me, cannot be with their fathers on this Father's Day."
Jacobi spoke of his father's influence on his life.
"My dad was a good man. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy at age 15. He worked 60 hours a week to provide for me and my sister," he said. "And when he retired, he did what he could to assist families in Florida that lost their fathers in the war.
"When I turned 5 years old, he took me to every race in Milwaukee and Elkhart Lake. Those races and the closeness that developed with my dad are the fondest memories of my childhood."
Many others in the IZOD IndyCar Series paddock would nod in agreement. Indeed, Foyt traces his love of the sport to his father and namesake, who owned midgets in the '30s and '40s. A.J.'s son, Larry, is the team's managing director.
The ABC Supply team will have a sign in their pit box with the names of each of their fathers above their own as a tribute.