INDIANAPOLIS - A.J. Foyt IV's car caught fire and crashed hard against the wall yesterday during practice for the Indianapolis 500. He had a slight burn to the back of his neck but was otherwise unhurt.
The 23-year-old grandson of four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt qualified for Sunday's race yesterday, bumping Marty Roth, the slowest of the first 33 qualifiers at 215.506 m.p.h., from the field. (Roth, a 50-year-old businessman from Toronto, subsequently qualified again.)
During a later practice session, Foyt's fuel-tank cover came off, and the spraying fuel was ignited by engine heat. With flames shooting from the rear of the car, he spun hard into the wall going into the third turn.
"It wasn't until I turned into the corner did I know stuff was going bad," Foyt said. "It was just a mistake. We left something off the car that was supposed to be on it, and it broke loose going into the corner, and that's what caused the flames.
"To feel completely out of control is the worst feeling in the world to me, and that's what happened," he said.
Vision Racing team manager Keven Kukulewicz said there would be no difficulty having the car ready for race day.
"Everything is repairable," he said.
The only other crash yesterday came on the final qualification attempt, when rookie Mario Dominguez hit the wall in the first turn after his first qualifying lap. It was the third crash by the Mexican driver this month. Dominguez appeared to be uninjured.