IRL: Atlanta Billy Boat Preview

Boat Hopes Proficiency on High-Banked Ovals Translates to Victory at Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga.: Aug. 24, 1998 - After a 15-year break, Indy car racing is returning to the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) and Billy Boat hopes to go down in the record ...

Boat Hopes Proficiency on High-Banked Ovals Translates to Victory at Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga.: Aug. 24, 1998 - After a 15-year break, Indy car racing is returning to the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) and Billy Boat hopes to go down in the record books as the first winner in this decade on the 1.54-mile quad oval located south of downtown Atlanta.

"I am expecting a great race for the Conseco/Foyt team in Atlanta," Boat said. "History has shown that we have run well on the high-banked ovals. We are due for a return to victory lane."

The crew working on the No. 11 Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear car has undeniably proven their proficiency on the high-banked ovals. Earlier this season, Boat won the Pep Boys Indy Racing League event at Texas Motor Speedway. Last season, he was equally competitive on the high-banks finishing second at Texas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, and winning the pole position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

In preparation for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's first visit to Atlanta, Boat has already shown his strength at the largest sports facility in the state of Georgia. In testing Boat clocked a fast lap of 220.955 mph at AMS. What made this accomplishm ent so impressive was that he did it only four weeks after breaking his leg in an accident during the New England 200.

Boat expects the speeds to be even quicker for the Georgia Power Pole Night on Friday, Aug. 28. In 1965, Boat's team owner, A.J. Foyt, won the pole position for the USAC open-wheel race at AMS with a speed of 166.512 mph. The speeds this year should be over 50 mph quicker than in 1965. There is even the chance that the record speed for the current IRL car of 228.012 mph could be broken at AMS.

"I think it will be an exciting race for the fans and they will see the highest speeds we have run yet in the IRL cars," Boat said. "The Atlanta Motor Speedway is very quick because there is a little more banking than the other 1.5-mile speedways and it is very smooth."

The quick speeds coupled with the first night race in the history of the Atlanta Motor Speedway should make the Atlanta 500 Classic presented by MCI an event to remember. Boat had a glimpse of this excitement when he tested at AMS in late July.

"If the fan turnout at our test is any indication of our race attendance I think we will have a good crowd," Boat said. "There seems to be a lot of Indy car fans in the Atlanta area. It is a market that Indy cars have not been to in a long time so I think a lot of people are looking forward to seeing us there."

The schedule of events for the Atlanta 500 Classic presented by MCI starts with practice on Thursday, Aug. 27, and qualifying on Friday, Aug. 28. The battle for the PPG Pole Award will be televised live on Speedvision at 6 p.m. (EDT). TNN will broadcast the race live on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 9 p.m. (EDT).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt