Billy Foster

Inducted 1993

Billy Foster, born in Victoria B.C., became the first Canadian to race in the Indy 500 in 1965 when he qualified the Jim Robbins Autotron entered Vollsted Offy 6th in his first attempt at the 500. He finished 17th when his car suffered a broken water manifold on the 85th lap. Billy raced stock cars and super modifieds on the West Coast before starring on the Indycar circuit and on the United States Auto Club (USAC) stock car circuit. He was a cinch to one day win at Indy, but that was not to be. Billy was killed in practice for the Riverside NASCAR race in 1967.

In reaction to that NASCAR created the window net rule that is now extended to all closed cars. So, the next time your favourite driver pops down his window net prior to hauling himself out of the car, pause a minute, smile and remember Canada’s Billy Foster.

image via Indianapolis Motor Speedway blog


  1. kevin barteaux says:

    I grew up in Victoria. My brother (Mike Barteaux) raced there at Western Speedway in the early 70’s(I was on his pit crew). Back then, they flew a 27 flag at all races. They probably still do. Billy Foster was a legend.
    Funny thing….odd thing….He used 27, and eventually died. Gilles Villeneuve used 27, and also died. I allways wonder to this day, when I see a race car with that number, what is going to happen to the driver.
    Anyway…RIP Billy, and Gilles. You will be forever missed.

  2. kevin barteaux says:

    and also….RIP Mike Barteaux….he died of hodgkins desease in may 1980
    miss him so much

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