Billy Boat will start on the inside of Row 10 in tomorrow's Michigan Indy 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. The CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team had to race the clock to make it to the qualifying line after an electrical problem ...
Billy Boat will start on the inside of Row 10 in tomorrow's Michigan Indy 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. The CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team had to race the clock to make it to the qualifying line after an electrical problem forced a last minute engine change. The team did a remarkable job, completing the task with just moments to spare before the #98 headed out to qualify.
Boat was scheduled to go second for his qualifying attempt and because of a delay in the start of morning practice there were only 45 minutes between the end of practice and qualifying. This meant forfeiting the spot in line and per IRL rules going to the end of the line with only one qualifying lap instead of two. Completing his shot at the pole, Boat said, "The CURB Records team did a great job getting our engine, which we had a little electrical problem with, changed quickly. But unfortunately, the lack of track time and the lack of information really hurt us. We missed on our gears by quite a bit. We'll go back and rethink it. You know what, this is a long race - it's going to be endurance and consistency that are going to be more important than outright speed."
Next to Boat, on the outside of the Row 10, will be fellow Arizonian, two- time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk in the #55 Meijer Indy Racing G-Force/Dallara. Luyendyk, who also lives in Phoenix, is making only his fourth Indy Racing start, and the first outside of Indianapolis, since 1998.
Rookie Tomas Scheckter captured the Pole and will start next to new teammate Buddy Rice, who is making his Indy Racing League debut. Scheckter, who has been embroiled in a week fueled by speculation and rumor regarding his position with Red Bull Cheever Racing following the crash in Nashville, led a Red Bull Cheever Racing sweep of the top three positions, winning his third MBNA Pole of the season. This is first time in IRL history that one team has swept the top three starting positions for a race and the first time rookies have controlled the front row for an IRL race.
Following a successful final practice, Boat was optimistic, "We're pretty happy with the CURB Records car right now. Looks like we got all of our gremlins sorted out and we have a good race car by ourselves and in traffic. We have to come from the back, so it'll be a bit of a challenge to get to the front, but we'll play our strategy, try to have good pit stops, take our time, work our way to the front and try to be there in the end."
The Michigan Indy 400 will air live from Michigan International Speedway on ABC Sunday, July 28 at 3:00pm (EDT) with live pre-race coverage on ESPN2's "Indy Racing 2Day," beginning at noon (EDT).