INDIANAPOLIS — A.J. Foyt is back at the Indianapolis 500 this weekend with Takuma Sato behind the wheel and perhaps his best chance to win the fabled race as an owner in more than a decade.
Still, he can't help but reminisce about the good old days.
The four-time champion was asked Thursday whether there will ever be a time when there's true innovation in the IndyCar Series – where there are multiple chassis builders, for example, like there was before Dallara became the sole provider in 2006.
Companies such as Lola and Reynard are just a memory at the Brickyard.
"Dallara does a great job, and I just as soon keep working with them," Foyt said, before explaining that so many of the old-school mechanics who put together cars when he was behind the wheel have either retired or passed away, and technology has taken over the game.
The same story unfolded when it came to engines, where Honda spent several years as the sole engine provider. But last year, Chevrolet made a return after a seven-year hiatus, and was been the dominant power plant in all those Dallaras so far this May.
"Some of the old mechanics that had to build motors, you have more what I call `R and R' – remove and replace mechanics," Foyt said. "All your great, great mechanics that used to do it the hard way have passed on. It's a shame."
In some ways, the result has been a more homogeneous product on the track, not unlike what NASCAR experienced over the past few years. The Sprint Cup series has gone back to cars that more closely resemble the manufacturers, creating a sort of brand identity once again.
"I don't think you'd ever see those days ever come back," Foyt said of the IndyCar Series. "It'd be nice, but I don't think you ever will."