IRL: Notebook 2002-07-04

Boat switching to Infiniti power at Kansas; Chevy clinches manufacturers' title INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, July 4, 2002 -- Indy Racing League standout Billy Boat and CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing are switching to Infiniti engines starting with...

Boat switching to Infiniti power at Kansas; Chevy clinches manufacturers' title

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, July 4, 2002 -- Indy Racing League standout Billy Boat and CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing are switching to Infiniti engines starting with the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Boat, 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole winner, thinks the switch will be a good fit for his No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone entry during the second half of the IRL season due to Infiniti's strong performance on longer tracks. Five of the seven remaining tracks on the 2002 schedule are 1.5 miles or longer.

"The Infiniti has shown to excel on these longer tracks, and they've come a long way in terms of power and reliability," Boat said. "It's all about winning. We want to win one or two of the races still left on the schedule. We just feel that we will have a better opportunity to do that with the Infiniti.

"We've had a great relationship with General Motors, Chevrolet, Speedway Engine Development and RPM Engine Development. They've done a fantastic job for us. But the timing is right to move on and try something new. We've been facing a lot of gremlins this year, so we feel like we need to make a drastic move to jump-start our season."

Eddie Cheever Jr. won the inaugural Ameristar Casino Indy 200 last July with an Infiniti-powered car.

"We're hoping that this engine will give us the added edge that our team may have been lacking so far this season," Boat said. "The team is really looking forward to putting the CURB Records car up front on race day."

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Chevy locks up engine title: Chevrolet has clinched the engine manufacturers' title for the 2002 IRL season in the shortest time possible after its engines powered drivers to victory in the first eight races of the year.

Chevrolet leads Infiniti, 80-56, after eight races. Manufacturers are awarded 10 points for a win, with the non-winning engine company earning seven points.

This is the sixth consecutive season that a General Motors engine has won the manufacturers' title in the IRL, as GM has won every year of the league's normally aspirated engine formula.

"Chevrolet returned to open-wheel racing with two goals -- to win the Indianapolis 500 and to win the IRL Manufacturers' Championship," said Chevrolet General Manager Kurt Ritter. "We've now achieved both objectives through the exceptional efforts of GM Racing engineers, our affiliated engine builders and the teams and drivers who have made the Chevy Indy V8 the dominant engine in the IRL series."

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Castroneves, de Ferran celebrate Brazil's win: Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran, both from Brazil, celebrated their country's 2-0 victory over Germany in the World Cup soccer final June 30.

Both drivers returned home to Florida from the SunTrust Indy Challenge on the evening of June 29 in time to watch the final, which started at 7 a.m. (EDT) the next morning.

de Ferran watched from home in Fort Lauderdale, while Castroneves . watched Brazil's record fifth World Cup title at a small party with . fellow Brazilians After the victory, de Ferran celebrated in typical . Brazilian fashion by going to a churrascaria (Brazilian barbecue-style . restaurant) and having a caipirinha (traditional Brazilian drink) while. Castroneves ventured out to South Beach to check out the partying by . Miami's large Brazilian community .

"I have to admit that early in the game things were not looking good for Brazil," de Ferran said. "But the talent of the Brazilian players really came through in the second half. The defense was strong, and the attacking side and goalkeeper came up with the goods when they needed to.

"I was ecstatic when Brazil won. It was a great victory, and this accomplishment means a lot to me and my countrymen."

Said Castroneves: "It's a great win for Brazil and an incredible accomplishment to have won the World Cup five times. Soccer is the number-one sport in Brazil, so this win was very important.

"As happy as I am, I will definitely not be cutting my hair like (Brazilian star) Ronaldo. I just wish there had been a party that big for me in honor of my Indianapolis 500 wins!"

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Chicago sold out: All 75,000 seats have been sold for the Delphi Indy 300 Indy Racing League event Sept. 8 at Chicagoland Speedway, track officials announced.

Tickets for MBNA Pole Qualifying on Sept. 7 also are sold out. Seats remain for practice Sept. 6.

The Ameristar Casino Indy 200 this weekend at Kansas Speedway, which seats nearly 80,000, also is sold out.

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Hot laps: The Brazilian Chamber of Commerce honored two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves at a dinner July 1 in Miami. Castroneves, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, received a crystal trophy commemorating his Indianapolis 500 victories in 2001 and 2002 -- Indy Racing standout Robbie Buhl visited young patients July 3 at University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., as part of his work as national spokesperson for Racing For Kids. Buhl will drive in the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 on July 7 at Kansas Speedway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran
Teams Team Penske