IRL: Indy 500: Billy Boat news 2003-05-15

INDIANAPOLIS, May 15 -Veteran Billy Boat and rookie Buddy Rice both concentrated on Race Day setups in Thursday's practice for the Indianapolis 500, although only Rice is in the field. Rice spent most of the day on the track or in the pit, and...

INDIANAPOLIS, May 15 -Veteran Billy Boat and rookie Buddy Rice both concentrated on Race Day setups in Thursday's practice for the Indianapolis 500, although only Rice is in the field.

Rice spent most of the day on the track or in the pit, and was still running for the second day in a row when the track closed for the day.

"We're making it better by running it all the time, getting more information," he said. "We had a few problems we were trying to work on, and I think we figured those out. We sat out (of practice) for a little bit today to kind of go through some stuff and make sure we had a solid car for the race."

Rice ran 92 laps, all in the backup car, and turned in a fast circuit at 221. 796 miles per hour

"We had a little bit of downforce in the car, trying to keep up, but we definitely ran full fuel tanks and made full runs."

For Boat, it was an even longer trip.

"We had a plan to run 500 miles on our race engine, and we finished it up today," he said, after running 103 laps Wednesday and 108 on Thursday. "It was really a durability test for Chevrolet and everything went really well. We ran high downforce and full fuel configuration, just like the race. We're trying to figure out what the pace will be and how quick we need to run."

Boat said the Pedigo Chevrolet Dallara/Chevrolet team would turn its attention to qualifying in practice today.

"We'll probably put a qualifying engine in it and start working back toward trimming the car out and getting ready for Sunday," Boat said, adding that he felt confident they would be in the starting field. "I don't want to say no, but we shouldn't have any concerns. We feel we have a pretty good race setup. We'll know more (Friday) once we get back in qualifying mode. We should be able to run 224-225 without any problem."

Arie Luyendyk Jr. made his first official practice run Thursday in preparation for Saturday's Freedom 100 Infiniti Pro Series race.

"The track is great today and we got a lot of testing in," he said. "We have a new engine in the car and everything seems to be working fine. I think right now we have a top-three car for qualifying. Hopefully we can make some changes and go for the pole."

Luyendyk's best practice lap was 186.471, fifth fastest of the session, in the Grill2Go/ Smith Wesson Dallara/Infiniti.

Among Indy drivers, Alex Barron, who replaced two-time "500" winner Arie Luyendyk, was the fastest of seven unqualified drivers in practice Thursday, turning a lap at 226.230 in the Meijer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota. It was just quicker than Jimmy Vasser's fast lap of 226.027 in the Argent Rahal/Letterman Racing Dallara/Honda. Third fastest among the unqualified drivers was Shigeaki Hattori at 224,880 in the EPSON/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota.

Practice will continue through Saturday with the final "Bump Day" qualifying set for Sunday. "Carb Day" practice is Thursday, with the "500" to be aired live by ABC on Sunday, May 25.

-www.billyboat.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Shigeaki Hattori , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Jimmy Vasser , Alex Barron , Buddy Rice , A.J. Foyt , Mo Nunn , Arie Luyendyk Jr.