"The hardest thing about being an owner is trying to tell one of your drivers to take it easy," Foyt said. "It goes against all their upbringing. But sometimes you've got to do it. All Kenny needs to do is finish ahead of two drivers [Stewart and Hamilton] to win the championship, and that's what we want most of all.
"If it comes down to backing off, to save the engine or keep out of trouble, that's what Kenny's going to have to do. Then, if Stewart and Hamilton are out of it, he can go for the win."
Another stated reason for forming the IRL was to give young American drivers, up from the sprint car and midget ranks, an opportunity they could not get in CART, where most of the drivers are foreigners.
"I liked what I saw when Kenny was driving [last year] for Rick Galles, so when the time came, I went with him," Foyt said, dismissing the notion that he had to have another American driver. Boat, Brack's teammate, is from Phoenix.
"People thought I was crazy when I let Scotty [Scott Sharp] and Davey [Hamilton] go last year and signed Brack, but you know, in this business you can't stay stagnant, and we weren't going anywhere where we were."
Which isn't exactly true. Sharp had been co-champion with Buzz Calkins in IRL's first season, and Hamilton had finished only six points behind Stewart last season.
"The first thing I heard was that Kenny was buying his ride, and that just ain't the truth," Foyt said. "Of all the guys I've had, the only one who brought money for his ride was Marco Greco.
"I liked Kenny because I saw that he was a very smart racer, but he had a car-control problem. He makes smart moves. Now and then, he still makes me pucker, the way he tries to get away with things he shouldn't have tried. Like at Indy, where he kept brushing the wall, rubbing 'Goodyear' off his sidewalls. I told him if he kept rubbing the walls like that, that wall was going to get him.
"But you saw what he did. He went out and qualified on the front row. He's tough that way. He does things you aren't sure he can do. He wants to learn, and he wants to win. What more can I ask?"
Brack's background includes winning the Renault Clio Scandinavian title in 1992 and the Zerex Barber Saab championship in 1993, his first year in America. In 1996, before signing with Galles Racing as a substitute for the injured Davy Jones, Brack was runner-up in the International Formula 3000 series.
Foyt said he will send Boat out early on Sunday as a rabbit to set a swift pace, while holding Brack back.
"I told Kenny I'm not going to let him ding-dong for the lead and maybe have him break. I'll send Billy out early. He doesn't mind, he wants to win the race and he figures if he's out in front early, that might be the way to do it. They're both very competitive, they want to race each other, but I'm the boss and they'll do what they're told."
Brack is quick to credit Foyt for his success in only two years of Indy car racing.
"A.J. means so much to Billy and me because he has so much experience setting the cars up for different tracks," Brack said. "Whenever we have a problem, or think we do, he can easily relate to it and make whatever changes are necessary."
Foyt admits he sometimes acts on hunches, hunches that come from years of tuning and driving his own No. 14, the number Brack carries.
"Take the last race, at Texas [Motor Speedway], for example," Foyt said. "Kenny said he felt like he would win easily, but he said he felt a vibration. I told him to pit, that if he stayed out he was going to hear a big bang. He pitted just as the track was going green [after a caution period] and it cost him a possible win, but if he hadn't come in, he wouldn't have made two more laps.
"When we inspected the right rear tire, we found it had a bad cut. It was just a hunch I had, just a vibration to Kenny, but it's the kind of little thing it takes to win a championship. Kenny finished only fifth, but it was better than Hamilton or Stewart, and at this time of the season that's what matters most."
If Brack wins the title, he will become the first Swedish driver to win an Indy-car championship. The only other serious Swedish competitor has been Stefan Johansson, retired as a driver and now the owner of a karting center in Indianapolis and an Indy Lights team.
Foyt's success this year, with Boat winning the first race at Texas and getting five poles, including the Indy 500, and Brack winning three races, tends to obscure his otherwise unimpressive record as an owner. Certainly it is nothing like his driving record, which included U.S. Auto Club national champ car titles in 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1975 and 1979.
Until Boat won last June, Foyt had only one victory in six years as a full-time car owner, Sharp's 1996 victory at Loudon, N.H.
Among his many drivers were such talents as Bryan Herta, Robby Gordon, Eddie Cheever and John Andretti. But there were others, such as Brian Bonner, whom Foyt once advised, "Just go out there and don't hit anything, son."