IRL: Nashville Billy Boat post race interview

HOST: TAMMY BREWINGTON GUEST: BILLY BOAT Tammy Brewington: We have Billy Boat, who finished second today in the Harrah's 200. This is Billy's best finish since winning in Texas in June of 1998. He's an eight-time IRL pole winner, and we...

HOST:  TAMMY BREWINGTON

GUEST: BILLY BOAT
Tammy Brewington:  We have Billy Boat, who finished second today in the
Harrah's 200.  This is Billy's best finish since winning in Texas in June
of 1998.  He's an eight-time IRL pole winner, and we would like to open
up questions to Billy.  Please?

What was the difference in one and two?

Billy boat: The question was how might -- you know, just simply how we did on the run. I think when we were in the lead -- Buddy was an awful close match. It was just a matter of, I think, traffic. A lot of traffic won this race, won it or lost, won it for Buddy, probably lost it for me. You know, a big track like this, it's awful tough to pass and, you know, you've got to be able to -- you've got to kind of have a little bit of luck and time your passes right. I came upon two lap cars and Buddy got around me, and I lost some momentum and, you know, he had a little bit more time to recover and he got by me, and I think that was really the difference in the race. And once he got by me, it was awful hard, you know, awful hard for me to catch him. I think he probably would have had a hard time catching us, passing us in clear track, but I think traffic was a difference.

The big crash, were you near that anywhere?

Boat: No, I wasn't. It happened behind me, so I really wasn't. I don't even know what happened, but I know there was a lot of debris everywhere.

Do you think the area fans really got a pretty good feel for what IRL racing is all about today?

Boat: Oh, I think so. I think, you know, we put on a great show. You know, too bad I couldn't have challenged Buddy a little bit more there at the end, but, you know, I think they got a taste of what Indy car racing is all about, and hopefully they will all come back.

Billy, did you think this track turned out to be, as a racing turnout, better than you expected and able to stay high or was it just a disaster out there on the high groove?

Boat: There really wasn't enough room. I know I couldn't run a high groove. We fought an understeer and a little bit of a push all night long, and, you know, the CURB Records team, we kept working on it on every pit stop, but we never really got it right. We got it better, but we never got it right, and so whenever I tried to get up even a little bit off the line, my car was just taking off, so we were definitely, you know, limited to that bottom group, so that hurt us in traffic and hurt our ability to pass a little bit, which ultimately may have, you know, hurt our chance to win the race, but, you know, we can't complain. The CURB Records team did a great job all night. We had good pit stops. We didn't make any mistakes, and, you know, we finished second, so we continued to improve. We continued to move up in the speed charts and the point standings and if we can just continue at this pace, we're going to be a contender all year.

Billy, you may have answered this, we came in a little bit late, but talk about the concrete surface and the tire wear tonight.

Boat: Really, tire wear was not an issue. The Firestone tires performed flawlessly all night long. You know, we checked our tires after the first pit stop and didn't have any signs of anything abnormal, so the tires were really not an issue. Actually, I wish I would have, you know, we scuffed our tires to kind of give a little bit of insurance to harden them up a little bit, and at the end of the race I wish I wouldn't have. I wish I would have had a set of stickers I could have thrown on, because we probably would have been a little bit quicker, but Firestone did a great job. They had a great tire.

So the concrete sufficed because a lot of the guys were talking about it, you know, at Dover it was built differently as far as the banking is concerned. There was some concern about the concrete, they were doing certain things to try to overcome that. Were you surprised at the way the car reacted to the concrete?

Boat: No, not really. I mean the more we ran on it, the better it got. I think they can continue to maybe grind the high side in Turn 4. I think, and if we tell them to, I think they will. Pretty much any suggestion we have had, they've accommodated us. But the high side in Turn 4 is still really, really slick. The high side, I mean I saw Jaques do a pass on the high side in 1 and 2, and I said man, I wasn't going to attempt it, but, you know, it did get where you could race on it a little bit, but it really wasn't good for everybody.

When you looked in the rear-view mirror and you saw Sam making a move up to the front and all of a sudden he had to let you guys in front of him, what was going through your mind? Were you lining up in your head what you were going to do when he got on your tail?

Boat: Well, obviously, at that point I was also trying to catch Buddy, so we were just trying to pick up the pace and stay ahead of him. You know, he obviously had a pretty good race car, probably a good enough race car to win maybe, but, you know, you have got to be there at the end, so he probably had a little bit of this bad luck that, you know, he hasn't had all year. You know, they have had tremendous luck down there at Panther and they have been really fast, but, you know, he would have been tough at the end, there is no doubt.

Brewington: Are there any more questions for Billy?

Boat: OK, thanks, guys.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat