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AJ Foyt stunned by Harvey’s fury, helping relief effort

Team owner A.J. Foyt sits in the IndyCar garage after a practice session at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9, 2017, in Fort Worth. (AP Photo/Randy Holt)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) – A.J. Foyt and son Larry know they’re among the lucky ones – their Houston homes have suffered only minimal damage from Hurricane Harvey.

But the man known as “Super Tex” is stunned by what he’s seen since Harvey struck with devastating force.

“It’s absolutely terrible what’s going on in Texas. I’m 82 years old and in my whole lifetime, I’ve never seen anything like this,” A.J. Foyt said Saturday. “I just can’t believe the water is still so high. I’ve been very lucky because I had very little damage. So far, none of my homes have gotten under water and I thank God for that.

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“I just feel sorry for all the poor people who weren’t as fortunate,” said Foyt, the all-time wins leader in Indy car racing. “A lot of people are in a lot of trouble, and too many lives were lost. But Texas will come back from this. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of money, but we will rebuild. Texans are tough.”

The auto racing community is lending a hand to help the victims, and AJ Foyt Racing and the IndyCar series are leading a relief effort.

T-shirts with a logo featuring the hashtag #Race4Houston emblazoned on the state of Texas went on sale Saturday at Watkins Glen International. Proceeds will benefit the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which is being administered through the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Direct donations also can be made to the foundation’s website.

NASCAR also has begun an industrywide drive for donations through its NASCAR Foundation, and teams in all three national series have “Texas Strong” decals for all cars competing this weekend.

AJ Foyt Racing also has produced decals featuring the #Race4Houston logo, which will be carried on their ABC Supply Chevrolets for the final two races of the season. Smaller decals will be made available to IndyCar Series teams wanting to participate.

It’s “Throwback Weekend” at Darlington in NASCAR’s Cup series, and a few Cup teams made last-minute paint scheme changes to honor those affected by the disaster. Team Penske and sponsor Shell-Pennzoil announced that Joey Logano’s No. 22 Ford will now have a Red Cross paint scheme for Sunday’s Southern 500.

Shell also pledged $1 million to the Red Cross and Logano another $25,000 for disaster relief, while Rick Ware Racing scrapped the original throwback paint scheme on son Cody Ware’s No. 51 Chevrolet. “Pray for Texas” is now across the hood and sides. Owners Rick and Lisa Ware were high school sweethearts from the Houston area and several family members had to evacuate.

“Everybody has been so supportive,” said Larry Foyt, the team president. “Just really thankful for that. The amount of damage and the numbers we’re hearing in the billions is just staggering.”