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A.J. Foyt undergoes successful back surgery

Apr 23, 2013, 10:14 PM EDT

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 3 Getty Images

A.J. Foyt missed his team’s race Sunday in Long Beach, Calif., where new driver Takuma Sato won, for a bigger reason: the legendary 78-year-old team owner had back surgery in Houston.

The surgery went well and Foyt, a four-time Indianapolis 500 champion, is targeting a return to the track for this year’s 500-mile race. The team has two cars entered for Sato and rookie Conor Daly, the latter of whom was also in attendance in Long Beach.

From the A.J. Foyt Racing Facebook page:

A.J. underwent successful back surgery today in a Houston hospital. Foyt, 78, will be kept overnight as a precaution. Neurosurgeon Dr. David Cech performed the laminectomy procedure in the lumbar region of Foyt’s spine to relieve the sciatic nerve pain he had been experiencing recently. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Although the surgery was originally scheduled to be Wednesday, Foyt asked for the earlier surgery to hasten his recovery period. He is planning to be at Indianapolis next month as his ABC Supply IndyCar team works to continue the momentum gained from Takuma’s victory in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach.

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