He began his career racing karts. He moved up through the open wheel racing ranks, winning the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series. When Foyt made his first Indianapolis 500 race in 2003, he became the youngest driver to start in the event. He continued in IndyCar for two more years until his back was injured at the 2005 Indianapolis 500. Later that season he made several NASCAR Busch Series starts. He was scheduled to continue in the Busch Series in 2006, but the team was bought out and his contract didn't allow him to race in a non-Dodge car. He returned to IndyCar late that season. He has not raced since 2009, although he drove for his grandfather's A. J. Foyt Enterprises team in trials for the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
Foyt was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but lists his hometown as Hockley, Texas, the long-time residence of his grandfather, racing legend A. J. Foyt, who guided him through much of his career.
Foyt appeared in the 2005 film, The Dukes of Hazzard and is an avid Texas Longhorns fan. In March 2007, he was charged with DUI stemming from an incident in December of the previous year.
He is married to Indianapolis Colts vice-president Casey Irsay, daughter of team owner Jim Irsay, in July 2009. On September 19, 2010, it was announced by commentators during the Indy Japan 300 that Casey Foyt had given birth to a son, A. J. Foyt V. Foyt is sometimes referred to by the nickname "Quattro" or the stylized "AJIV" or "AJ4".
Foyt began racing Junior Dragsters as a nine-year-old and won two titles. He then moved to karts for many years before moving to formula race cars in 2001. In 2001, he won six of nine SCCA events to claim the Southwest Regional championship. He finished third in SCCA's national point championships and was the series' Rookie of the Year. That same year, he competed at the World Karting Association's Dirt World Championships at Daytona Beach, Florida and finished second in the Briggs Heavy feature event. Foyt competed in his first USAC Silver Crown event that August. In 2002, A.J. moved to his grandfather's team, A.J. Foyt Enterprises, in the newly formed Infiniti Pro Series and won the championship with four wins in seven events. In 2003, he moved up to Foyt Enterprises' IRL IndyCar Series team, finishing 21st in the final standings.
Foyt currently holds the record for the youngest driver to race in the Indy 500. His rookie race in 2003 occurred on his 19th birthday. He took the record from Josele Garza who was slightly over 2 months older for his first start in 1981.
He continued to struggle in IndyCars, finishing 18th in the 2004 points and 20th in 2005. In the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Foyt was involved in an accident with a top Champ Car driver, Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a broken back. The season did not improve as the team switched from Toyota to Chevrolet power mid-season and Foyt was replaced for the late-season road course events by Jeff Bucknum.
In October 2005, Foyt announced that at the end of the 2005 season, he would leave Foyt Enterprises and drive in the NASCAR Busch Series for the #38 Akins Motorsports team and was signed as a developmental driver for Evernham Motorsports. He ran several events in the #38 late in 2005, but failed to produce results. In 2006, he was scheduled to run the entire Busch Series schedule in the #38 and be a competitor for the Rookie of the Year award. However, early in the 2006 season, Akins was purchased by Braun Racing, which switched the #38 from Dodge to Chevrolet bodies. Foyt had an exclusive contract with Dodge that prevented him from continuing with the team. After a week off, Ray Evernham found him a ride with FitzBradshaw Racing, but he failed to qualify for his first race with the team and has not attempted a NASCAR race since.
On September 5, 2006, Foyt was tabbed by the 2005 IndyCar Championship team, Andretti Green Racing, to replace injured regular AGR driver Dario Franchitti. Foyt drove the #27 Klein Tools/Canadian Club Dallara Honda in the IRL season's final event at Chicagoland Speedway and finished 14th.
In January 2007, Foyt signed with Vision Racing to return to the IRL for the 2007 season as well as drive with the team in the 2007 24 Hours of Daytona.
On August 5, 2007, during the Firestone Indy 400, Foyt was involved in a spectacular seven-car crash in which Dario Franchitti's car was sent airborne and then came down on Foyt's car. While Foyt was uninjured, Franchitti's car left visible tire marks on Foyt's helmet. Foyt's crew was able to repair the car and get him back on the track where he completed enough laps to secure an 8th-place finish. The following week at the Meijer Indy 300, Foyt's crew gave him great pit stops which allowed him to take to lead with 10 laps remaining. Even though Foyt was passed a few laps later by Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, he managed to hold on the rest of the way and drive to a career-best 3rd-place finish, the first Top-5 finish of his career. It was also the best finish in Vision Racing's team history, tying Tomas Scheckter's 3rd-place finish at the Milwaukee Mile in 2006.
Foyt returned to be one of Vision Racing's drivers in the 2008 24 Hours of Daytona. He returned to the Vision team for the 2008 IndyCar Series season driving the #2 car that was formerly driven by Tomas Scheckter.
On March 28, Foyt seemed to have earned a career best start for an IndyCar Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the 2008 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Indy 300 with the third best qualifying time. His Vision Racing teammate, Ed Carpenter also earned a career best start with the 2nd best qualifying time. However, both cars failed technical inspection, meaning they had to start at the rear of the field. Foyt drove his No. 2 entry from the last position (25th) to a ninth-place finish in the race.
Two races later at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, Foyt had his first top-10 start of the season for the Indy Japan 300 when qualifying was rained out. The starting grid was based on driver points standings. Of the drivers there, Foyt was eighth in the championship points standings. He was helped with some drivers ahead of him racing in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Foyt had contact with the wall, forcing him to retire from the race early, with a 15th-place finish.
The following week at Kansas Speedway, Foyt and his teammate Ed Carpenter shared the third row, with Foyt qualifying 5th. It was his best career start and second top-10 start in a row. In the RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300, Foyt had his chances of a high finish end as his car was caught in the pits when an accident involving Buddy Rice occurred. Foyt would drive to an eighth-place finish. Foyt's best finish of the season came in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 in June at the Iowa Speedway where he finished fifth. Foyt finished 19th in points.
Vision Racing was unable to secure sponsorship to run a second car in 2009, leaving Foyt out of a ride. He returned to A. J. Foyt Enterprises for the 93rd Indianapolis 500, driving the #41 ABC Supply entry for his grandfather, A. J. Foyt. Foyt finished 16th on the lead lap as his teammate Vitor Meira was injured in a late-race crash. Paul Tracy was drafted as the substitute driver for Meira at the next race, but Foyt stepped into the car for his home race at Texas Motor Speedway. Ryan Hunter-Reay drove the car for the rest of the season and Texas would be Foyt's last race of 2009.
In 2010, he was again entered in a second Foyt Enterprises car for the Indy 500. After the morning practice session on the final day of qualifying A. J. Foyt IV and his grandfather got in an argument regarding the car's setup resulting in the younger A. J. quitting the team. Jaques Lazier was drafted in on short notice to qualify the car but failed to find enough speed to make the field.
Foyt has been employed by the Indianapolis Colts since 2010 as a scouting assistant.
(key)1 Run on same day.
2 Non-points paying, exhibition race.
3 Foyt was entered, practiced, and made a qualifying attempt on Pole Day, but failed to make the top 24. On Bump Day, he quit the team and was replaced by Jaques Lazier.
(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)