After suffering the “worst” pain he’s ever felt in his rough-and-tumble 83 years, A.J. Foyt underwent successful back surgery last week and is on the mend.
“I feel a helluva lot better than I did and I’m not too bad today so I should be able to bounce back pretty quick,” the IndyCar told RACER on Friday from his Houston home.
“I’ve got a walker for a few days, but I reckon I’ll be at Pocono next month.”
From a broken back at Riverside to being badly burned at Milwaukee to nearly losing his arm at Michigan to his shattering crash at Road America that pulverized his feet and ankles, IndyCar’s all-time winner has made a career out of recovering from injuries.
And that doesn’t count his bouts with killer bees, triple by-pass heart surgery, nearly drowning when his bulldozer flipped into a pond or the 10 days he spent on a ventilator in 2015.
But the first man to win four Indianapolis 500s says his latest medical escapade was even more painful than his 1991 accident at Elkhart Lake.
“I’ve never felt anything like I did last week,” he declared, explaining his latest injury came as he worked at his dumpster business shortly before the race at Road America last month. “I can stand a lot of pain, but it was almost unbearable. I couldn’t touch my legs, let alone lift them up, and it was killing me.”
The culprit was the nerves near his spinal cord, and doctors opted to cut a five-inch incision in his back to grind the bones.
“I walked down the hall the day after my surgery and I think the nurse thought that was pretty good for an old man,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not supposed to drive or do much for a while, but that’s what they always tell me.”