Billy Foster

Billy Foster

18/9/1937 - 20/1/1967

One of Mario Andretti's closest friends, Bill only raced at Indy twice. In 1965 he became the first Canadian to race in the Indianapolis 500. He was killed in practice for the Motor Trend 500 in 1967.

Billy had an early interest in racing and at age thirteen was found hanging around doing odd jobs at the old Langford track.

He began racing at Victoria's Western Speedway in 1954 driving his 1934 Ford Stock Car to 10th place in the final point standings. He also won his first Main Event that year on July 24th.

By 1958 he was working, testing tires, for the Firestone Corporation. In his races at Western Speedway and around the Pacific Northwest he was always the frontrunner and he was responsible for proving that Canadians could compete at the top in motor racing.

In 1960 he drove for Jim Haslam, ending the year in 5th position.

He was voted Most Popular Driver in 1961, a year in which he won the July Cup, the Roy White Memorial Trophy and the Championship Race. He ended the year 3rd in championship points.

For 1962, he switched to driving Super Modifieds. He won the Gold Cup, the Daffodil Cup and the Championship.

He became one of Mario Andretti's closest friends after their time together. Bill only raced at Indy twice. In 1965 he qualified sixth and became the first Canadian to race in the Indianapolis 500. In 1966 he qualified again, this time in 12th.

Foster nearly won the Atlanta USAC Champ race in 1966 and came even closer to winning the non-points Fuji round, where he passed Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart to lead for a while.

He was killed in 1967 in a practice lap crash at the 'Motor Trend 500', a NASCAR race at Riverside, California. It was believed the brakes failed at the end of the mile long back straight and his Rudy Hoerr Dodge crashed into the turn 9 wall. His death was the impetus for the drivers side window netting seen in all closed cars today.

 

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