IRL: Atlanta Qualifying Story

David Reininger - Motorsport News International Hampton, GA (August 28, 1998) - Billy Boat won his fifth pole of his IRL career and fourth of the 1998 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway today. Boat's averaged 224.145 miles per hour on the mile and...

David Reininger - Motorsport News International

Hampton, GA (August 28, 1998) - Billy Boat won his fifth pole of his IRL career and fourth of the 1998 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway today. Boat's averaged 224.145 miles per hour on the mile and a half speedway taking the pole by two one-hundredths of a second over second place qualifier Jeff Ward.

"Our team puts a lot of emphasis on qualifying because it not only pays money, but it also pays points," Boat said. "And right now, we need both of all we can get of each."

Boat drew the first qualifying spot but electrical problems caused the team to pull the Conseco entry from the qualifying line.

"In the last practice session we had low battery voltage, Boat said." "That's why we came in and started looking for the problem. It was with the alternator, but we never really did find the trouble so we missed our turn in line. That's something we'll have to work on for the race. We finally decided to chance it and hope the battery would stay up long enough to get the qualifying run in, and it did."

Jeff Ward starts tomorrow's Atlanta 500 Classic from the outside of the front row, his fourth front row start this season.

"The car was perfect," Ward reported, "just like it has been all day."

Ward had just announced a new sponsor a few minutes before qualifying the freshly painted yellow car. "WE are very happy to be starting from the front row for our new sponsor Thermo Tech," said Ward. "Billy Boat always seems to run a lap in qualifying that is better than his practice times. I always run my fastest laps during the race. Unless things change I should lead the first lap again - just like I have in the past.

Team Menard drivers Robbie Buhl and Tony Stewart qualified 21st and 25th respectively after a frustrating weekend. Stewart managed to run 221 mph in practice yesterday but could only put together a lap at just over 213 mph in qualifying.

Robbie Buhl was almost three miles an hour off his best practice speed in qualifying. Buhl qualified at an average speed of 215.846 mph.

The Atlanta 500 Classic takes the green flag at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night. The race will be shown live on The Nashville Network.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robbie Buhl , Jeff Ward , Billy Boat