Pole Winner Billy Boat's Day Ends in Disappointment HAMPTON, Ga.: Aug. 29, 1998 - In front of a crowd of 61,000 at the Atlanta 500 Classic presented by MCI, Billy Boat overcame early-race difficulties, set a track record and was looking good...
Pole Winner Billy Boat's Day Ends in Disappointment
HAMPTON, Ga.: Aug. 29, 1998 - In front of a crowd of 61,000 at the Atlanta 500 Classic presented by MCI, Billy Boat overcame early-race difficulties, set a track record and was looking good for a strong finish. His day ended in disappointment though when an incident involving another car took him out of the race early.
Boat once again started the race from the pole position in the No. 11 Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. It was his fourth PPG pole this season and his second consecutive pole having won the honor at Pikes Peak two weeks ago. Additionally, he was fastest in the race by recording the quickest race lap of 224.163, a track record for the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In the first quarter of the race, Boat dropped back due to handling difficulties and a long pit stop when he stalled the engine. After his third pit stop, on lap 96 of the 208-lap race, he was running back at top speed and impressively earned his lap back by passing the leaders of the race. Running in seventh position on lap 170, he looked good for a late-race charge for victory until Marco Greco hit him on the backstretch of the track.
"I was passing on the outside of Marco," Boat said. "He almost got me in the fence about 30 laps before that. He pushed me up high and I was around him. Then he tagged me in the left rear and started a big crash."
"I feel bad for the team because we had a car capable of winning the race," Boat continued. "We're kind of in a bad luck streak here. These kinds of things happen in racing sometimes. You've got to keep plugging away. We've got a good race car and we've got a good team. Eventually it will turn around. It's just frustrating in the meantime."
The next event on the schedule for Billy Boat and the Conseco/Foyt crew is the Lone Star 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 20. Boat, who won the race at TMS in June, is in contention for winning the $100,000 "Texas Two-Step" Championship awarded to the Pep Boys IRL driver who scores the most combined points in the two Texas events.