IRL: Indy500: Foyt Racing Opening Day Report

Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Driver Billy Boat More Ready than Ever for Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis, Ind.: May 10, 1998 - Billy Boat returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time of his career and this time he is more ready than...

Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Driver Billy Boat More Ready than Ever for Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis, Ind.: May 10, 1998 - Billy Boat returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time of his career and this time he is more ready than ever for the famed Indianapolis 500. After two years of ups and downs at the Indianapolis 500, Boat finally comes to the speedway with a high level of confidence. This confidence comes with driving the No. 11 Conseco Dallara-Aurora V8 on Goodyear Racing Eagles for four-time Indy 500 winner

A.J. Foyt. Boat is teamed with Foyt and Conseco for the entire 11-race Pep Boys Indy Racing League series, including the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Boat first came to Indianapolis in 1996 with Pagan Racing and qualified with a lap time of 221.824 mph. Unsatisfied with this time, he was prepared to run a back-up car for A.J. Foyt but was unable to qualify with that entry when a mechanical failure cau sed an accident on the final day of qualifying. Then in 1997 he came to Indianapolis to race a midget at 16th Street Speedway. He won the midget feature and was ready to go home when Foyt sent a message to him that he needed a driver. Billy qualified 2 2nd for the race and finished his rookie "500" in seventh place.

"Last year when I came to Indy, I came here without a ride and with no expectation of getting a ride. When I finished seventh with A.J. I was pleased," Boat said. "This year we've had the opportunity to run several races together and get to know each ot her pretty well. The guys on the team know what I like and how I like the race car to feel. I think we have a very high confidence level. You can feel it throughout the whole team. We've worked hard in preparation for Indy and we are expecting to do w ell."

Driving since he was five years old, Boat has racing in his blood. He enjoys spending a few weeks in Indianapolis each year because of the city's passion for racing.

"The great thing about Indy during the month of May is that there is so much racing," Boat said. "There is racing three or four nights a week. There is the 16th Street Speedway for the midget races, there is IRP, and there is the Hulman Hundred. This is such a racing town and people are so in to it that it makes coming to Indy to drive a lot of fun."

The biggest change with the Indianapolis 500 this year is the shortened schedule. Pole day and bump day both occur on the same weekend, May 16 and 17, and opening day is May 10. The schedule change adds another factor for the teams to consider in prepar ation for the Indianapolis 500.

"The difference the shorter schedule makes is that when you roll off the trailer for opening day you have to be prepared," Boat said. "The teams that are prepared are going to excel and if you are not prepared you are going to struggle to catch up. I kn ow that A.J. (Foyt) and the crew have done a good job getting prepared for this race. The whole focus of the team has been on the month of May." # # # #

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt