Billy Boat to join two-time and defending IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr. Indianapolis -- Panther Racing today filed two entries for the 2003 Indianapolis 500 -- one for two-time and defending IRL IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. and one for...
Billy Boat to join two-time and defending IRL Champion Sam Hornish Jr.
Indianapolis -- Panther Racing today filed two entries for the 2003 Indianapolis 500 -- one for two-time and defending IRL IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. and one for 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter and long-time IRL competitor Billy Boat. 2003 marks the sixth consecutive year that Panther Racing, the winningest team in Indy Racing League history, has entered a car in the Memorial Day classic.
"We're blessed to be able to represent two great American companies, Pennzoil and Chevrolet, again this year in the greatest of all races -- the Indianapolis 500," said team co-owner John Barnes. "And I am pleased to announce we are going to have two chances at a victory this year by entering both Sam and Billy."
Hornish, who will be entering his fourth Indianapolis 500, is the IRL's winningest driver -- with eight wins. Each of his victories has come behind the wheel of the Pennzoil Panther Racing Dallara. But the Indianapolis 500 victory still eludes Hornish and Panther Racing.
"We have had two great years in the Indy Racing League," said Hornish. "Unfortunately, our toughest days in each of those years have come at Indianapolis. We are hopeful that we can make Indy our best track this year!"
Hornish has finished 24th, 14th and 15th at Indianapolis and, although not happy with the overall finishing positions, Hornish has turned in some spectacular performances after early problems in the last two years have eliminated him from an opportunity at victory. For example, in 2001 Hornish turned the fastest lap recorded during the race.
Along with Hornish, Panther announced it would field a car for long time IRL competitor, Billy Boat. Boat has competed in six Indianapolis 500 races where he started on the pole in 1998 and from the outside of row one in 1999. Boat has led two Indianapolis 500 races for a total of 13 laps and has recorded a best finish at Indianapolis of 3rd in 1999. In addition, Boat ranks second in the most pole positions earned in the Indy Racing League history and has one career IndyCar Series victory.
"I first had an opportunity to work with Billy in 1996 when he passed his rookie test at Indianapolis," Barnes said, eluding to the fact that Boat has assisted Panther.