IRL: Indy 500: Billy Boat day six practice comments

INDIANAPOLIS, May 9- Of the three Phoenix-area drivers vying for spots in the Indianapolis 500, only rookie Buddy Rice's day was a good one. Two-time winner Arie Luyendyk landed in the hospital and former polesitter Billy Boat was left wondering...

INDIANAPOLIS, May 9- Of the three Phoenix-area drivers vying for spots in the Indianapolis 500, only rookie Buddy Rice's day was a good one.

Two-time winner Arie Luyendyk landed in the hospital and former polesitter Billy Boat was left wondering what to do.

Luyendyk, who crashed heavily in the Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota during morning practice, was released from Methodist Hospital just before practice ended at 6 p.m. with no broken bones but a lot of back and shoulder pain.

"My status is day-to-day," the 1990 and 1997 winner said. "There is no telling when I'm going to be cleared to drive. The doctor (IMS medical director Henry Bock) says it's totally up to me.

"We'll see how I feel (Saturday) and work with Dr. Bock on when it makes sense to get back in the car."

Luyendyk's primary car made contact with the outside wall three times with the first- and second-turn walls. The crew was preparing Luyendyk's backup car for a possible qualification attempt, but no replacement driver was announced Friday.

For Boat, it was a setback from Thursday, when he felt confident that the Pedigo Chevrolet Dallara/Chevrolet was ready to qualify.

"Yesterday I would have said we were right there," he said, "but today is a different day. We lost the handle a little bit, and we put a different engine in, but we don't really know where we are right now."

Boat said Saturday's weather would have a lot to do with the team's strategy for qualifying.

"We'll just have to take our best shot and do the best we can," he said. "It depends on the weather and what kind of draw we get. Sometimes you're better off to just go out and do it, and sometimes it's better to sit back and wait."

Boat managed only 222.910 miles per hour in 37 laps of practice on Friday.

Rice pronounced himself and his Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet ready for qualifying.

"You don't have a lot of choices now," he said. "You have to be ready, and I think we'll be ready to go come qualifying, for sure."

Rice said the weather limited things the team tried on a hot, windy day.

"I think it had some limited benefit," he said. "It will make some headway for (Saturday). We'll just have to wait and see.""

Robby Gordon, subbing for Dario Franchiti in the Alpine/Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda, was the fastest in Friday's practice, turning a lap at 231.362 in windy conditions. Scott Sharp was second fastest at 230.829 in the Delphi Dallara/Toyota, and Scott Dixon was third at 230.714 in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota.

Pole Day Qualifying is Saturday with the second round of qualifications set for Sunday. Final "Bump Day" qualifications are scheduled for Sunday, May 18, with l "Carb Day" practice on Thursday, May 22 and the race, to be aired live on ABC, on Sunday, May 25.

-www.billyboat.com-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Buddy Rice , Chip Ganassi , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing