HOUSTON (AP) - A.J. Foyt will miss Sunday's race at Pocono after having hip replacement surgery Monday in Houston.
The 78-year-old IndyCar team owner and four-time Indianapolis 500 champion had been suffering from pain in his left leg for months and was hoping to put off surgery until after the season. But after falling on his ranch in early June, doctors told Foyt he needed surgery now.
``I guess I waited too long to have it done though because my hip was in really bad shape,'' he said in a statement released Tuesday by the team. ``They couldn't believe I was walking at all. The doctors tell me it will be six to eight weeks before I can travel.''
Until this season, Foyt had been one of the most regular attendees on the IndyCar circuit since the series was formed in 1996 following the split with CART.
In April, Foyt had back surgery which caused him to miss three races. He even moved up the scheduled surgery so he could be return in time for Indianapolis, the race that turned him into a household name in racing circles.
Foyt did attend practice, qualifying and race day in May and then attended the race in Fort Worth on June 8. But the fall leading up to that race has forced Foyt to stay away from the track for nearly a month. While Foyt recovered from his prior surgery, Takuma Sato won at Long Beach, giving the Foyt team its first trip to Victory Lane since 2002.
Foyt is expected to spend the next few days in the hospital and plans to follow Sato through the television broadcast.
``I was a little nervous about this surgery but they had me up and walking the same day,'' Foyt said. ``I'm sore but nothing like I was before the surgery.''
He has contended with health issues throughout a decorated racing career.
Foyt is the only driver to win the Indy 500, Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was the first of three drivers to win the Indy 500 four times. He has been named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and was named Associated Press' co-driver of the century. He also is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee, the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame and was one of the inaugural inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.