It’s hard to believe that A.J. Foyt hasn’t always been a household name but in 1961, the soon to be legendary racer appeared on one of the most popular TV game shows of the period. “I’ve Got a Secret” ran on CBS from 1952 until 1967 in its original format. By the time the show ended it’s run, A.J. Foyt was in fact a household name and there were no more secrets.
What made this episode of the TV show so distinguished to race fans was the pairing of two Indianapolis 500 brickyard and dirt track legends. Along with Foyt, the inaugural winner of the great race, Ray Harroun sat at the panel with host Gary Moore.
Remarkably, the guest panel solved the mystery of Mr. X and Mr. Y’s secrets within 6 questions, due largely in part because the race had taken place a week prior to the show’s taping. Future host Bill Cullen, who would become the host in the second edition of the game show in 1976, correctly guessed that Foyt had won the most recent race and Harroun was the first winner.
Host Moore quickly picked up the idea that our concept of speed had changed from the time that Harroun had won to the point where Foyt had averaged just over 139 mph for the race. “It isn’t anymore dangerous now, I don’t think, as it was then. But it’s still safer than riding on the highways with some of these hot rodders,” responded Harroun when asked about the danger of racing at the brickyard.
We can look back at this clip today and smile when Harroun claims that his special built race car cost around $2,000 and Foyt explained that his winning Indy car cost “around thirty thousand.” For what Harroun invested in the winning car for the first Indianapolis 500 mile Sweepstakes, a fan can barely cover the cost of travel, tickets, lodging and food for this year’s race.