PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Boat planning interesting morning commute in Phoenix By Dick Mittman and Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 18, 1999 - Pep Boys Indy Racing League standout Billy Boat is planning the...
PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK Boat planning interesting morning commute in Phoenix
By Dick Mittman and Paul Kelly indyracingleague.com
INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 18, 1999 - Pep Boys Indy Racing League standout Billy Boat is planning the ultimate morning commute Feb. 25 when he drives to work from his home in suburban Phoenix to Phoenix International Raceway in his A.J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Boat will receive an escort from the Arizona State Police to the 1-mile oval at PIR, site of the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28. Boat and many of his fellow Pep Boys Indy Racing League competitors will participate in the annual "Test in the West" Feb. 26-27 at PIR in preparation for the March race. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, also a Phoenix-area resident, will meet Boat for morning coffee during a stop at a convenience store along the route. Driving to work in his race car could bring 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Boat some luck for the Phoenix race. Eddie Cheever Jr. drove his Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips-Children's Beverage Group Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear from his home in Orlando, Fla., to Walt Disney World Speedway a few weeks before the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200, and he won the race Jan. 24. Video highlights of Boat's commute will be available to the media from 5-5:15 p.m. (EST) Feb. 25 on satellite GE 5, Transponder 14. *** Thumbs up for Paul: Driver John Paul Jr. won't be bothered by a protective device on his healing broken thumb when he returns to his race car for the "Test in the West" Feb. 26-27 at Phoenix International Raceway. Paul has been given medical clearance to drive without it. Paul, who drives the Byrd-Cunningham VisionAire G Force/Aurora/Firestone, broke the thumb in a motorcycle spill in December. He drove in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League season-opener at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 24 and the Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway a week later wearing a sheath designed by noted Indianapolis auto racing doctor Terry Trammell. Paul will drive in the 12-hour endurance classic in mid-March at Sebring, Fla., before returning to the Pep Boys Indy Racing League for the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 at Phoenix.
Checking it out: Dick Simon's new sponsor is as interested in the team as the veteran car owner. Mark Molus, president of Mexmil, plans to be in the pits when Simon sends driver Stephan Gregoire and his G Force/Aurora/Firestone through their paces in the "Test in the West" Feb. 26-27 at Phoenix International Raceway.
"Dick Simon and his crew did a great job at Orlando as a new team running their first race together with a new chassis/engine and driver package," Molus said. Molus placed a little pressure on the team when he added that he is confident they will be vying for their first win in the MCI WorldCom 200 on March 28 at PIR. Mexmil, founded in 1978 and based in Santa Ana, Calif., manufactures the Pep Boys Indy Racing League-certified "diapers" used under the gearbox area to absorb leaking oil.
Team named: Larry Curry has put a name to his new Pep Boys Indy Racing League team that includes former league champion Tony Stewart and Indianapolis businessman Andy Card as partners. It now will be referred to as Tri Star Motorsports.
Shocking addition: Jeff Lohman is the latest addition the Pennzoil Panther Racing team. He will join the team March 1 as the shock engineer and Adam's Program specialist. A native of St. Louis, he comes to the team from Hogan Racing.
*** Mehl on the mend: Indy Racing League Executive Director Leo Mehl is resting comfortably at his home in Hudson, Ohio, after surgery this week to repair a broken ankle. Mehl suffered a broken ankle last weekend when he slipped on ice in his driveway. Doctors repaired Mehl's ankle with two plates and screws. The ankle can't bear weight for about two months.
Noted promoter dies: Bill Lipkey, who organized the first USAC race ever held, died Feb. 16 in his hometown of Kokomo, Ind. He was 86. A race organizer since the early 1950s, his involvement in auto racing spanned six decades. On Jan. 8, 1956 -- after USAC had taken over race sanctioning from the AAA -- Lipkey presented the first USAC race for midget cars at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind. He purchased and operated Kokomo Speedway from 1952 until his retirement. He was a member of the USAC advisory board as the race organizer representative.