ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — AJ Foyt Racing has been climbing up hill for the last several years. They just can’t seem to get this ship steered towards the right direction. But, with signing Sebastien Bourdais, they felt like this was the move that would get them back towards the front of the grid.
So far, it’s paying off.
Bourdais, was P5 in practice on Saturday morning then P3 in the first round of his group and advanced to the second round of qualifying. He was seventh in the second round too. This was just the third time since 2011 that Bourdais even made it out of the first round of qualifying here.
“A much better start to the weekend here in St. Petersburg compared to our starting positions in Indy, so really proud of the group on the 14 car,” Bourdais said. “It’s still touch and go; you never know what you’re going to get.But it all worked out today. We’ll get P7 out of qualifying and start there tomorrow, so looking forward to it, and thanks for everybody’s support.”
Bourdais, finished fourth in Sunday’s race for Foyts best finish of the season.
“Well, what a race,” said Bourdais. “I’m super happy for the 14 team AJ Foyt Racing and Chevrolet. Those guys were on the cusp the whole time, and we were fighting for a million dollars today. We had things under control, and then it seemed to slip away and finishing fourth in some pretty incredible situations there at the end with a car that was legitimately fast. So, really happy that we could finish the season on a high like that and looking forward to 2021.”
The Frenchman is giving this Foyt team a shot in the arm and a boost of confidence in the season finale. It gives them plenty of hope for 2021. Mission accomplished.
That’s part of why they put him in the No. 14 Chevrolet early. It was to get them a leg up on setups for next year as well as trying to keep the car in the top 22 of entrant points as well.
In Indy on the road course earlier this month, he said it was a struggle. It was his first time in the car since the COTA test back in February. They kept going in the wrong direction and he qualified only 16th and 21st respectively over the two days. He finished 21st and 18th in the two races.
Nine of the last 10 races, the 14 car had qualified 19th or worse. Now, they get a top 12 starting spot. That’s saying something for a guy that’s been in this car just two weekends total now.
To get a top five in just his third start with the team is telling. Foyt could have a big year next season.