IRL: New Hampshire Billy Boat Preview

Conseco/Foyt Driver Billy Boat Heads to New Hampshire With Momentum of First Pep Boys IRL Victory Loudon, N.H.: June 23, 1998 - After almost winning on several different occasions, Billy Boat finally won his first Pep Boys Indy Racing...

Conseco/Foyt Driver Billy Boat Heads to New Hampshire With Momentum of First Pep Boys IRL Victory

Loudon, N.H.: June 23, 1998 - After almost winning on several different occasions, Billy Boat finally won his first Pep Boys Indy Racing League race on June 6 in Texas, the backyard of team owner A.J. Foyt. Three weeks later, the driver of the No. 11 Conseco car heads to Loudon, New Hampshire with the momentum of a strong victory and the desire to win again.

"At most every level I have raced I have been winning races," said Boat, who grew up racing midgets and sprint cars. "To win races you just have to stay after it. You just have to be able to put it all together on that one right night.

"It seems like once you get that victory, and everyone on the team knows what it is like, that is all you accept," Boat continued. "Hopefully, the Conseco/A.J. Foyt team has a taste for it now and will be looking for more this year."

The New England 200 on Sunday, June 28 will be the 11th Pep Boys IRL race for Billy Boat. In his short Indy car career-which started at the 1997 Indy 500 with a seventh-place finish-Boat has scored one victory and the pole position at this year's Indy 50 0. In total, he has earned four top-three IRL finishes, including third place at Phoenix this year and second place at Texas and Charlotte in 1997. Last year at the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway Boat started 16th and finished eighth.

"Loudon was probably our weakest race last year," Boat said. "We struggled all weekend. Then in the race we made contact with a car in the pits and damaged the front wing. We were lucky to finish as high as eighth. This year we go back with a completely different focus and a lot more experience. We expect to have a great race."

One of the tightest point's battles in the history of the Pep Boys IRL series will continue at this weekend's New England 200, the fifth event of the 11-race 1998 championship. Billy Boat is currently third in the point standings with 110 points, only five points behind Tony Stewart and Scott Sharp, who are tied with 115 points.

"The way you have to look at the point standings is that you need to go out and finish at the front in every race, and the points will take care of themselves," Boat said. "The way the points are structured, they reward winning so you can make up a big deficit. We were able to do that by winning Texas, which made up for our DNFs (did not finish) at Orlando and Indianapolis. Somebody that can run in the top three every week is going to be hard to beat. That's what our goal is from here on out."

The schedule of events for the New England 200 starts with practice and qualifying on Saturday, June 27 with live television coverage on Speedvision at 2:00 p.m. (EDT). CBS will broadcast the race live on Sunday, June 28 at 2:00 p.m. (EDT).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt