IRL: Chicagoland: Billy Boat race report

Boat has great run until engine fire ends the day early for the Curb. At the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL the ...

Boat has great run until engine fire ends the day early for the Curb.

At the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL the #98 started in 4th position and never left the Top 5. The car was running great, Billy Boat was confident and strong, the pit stops were good. Finally, it seemed, all was in place for the break-through race-- the one that was going to put the CURB Records team in Victory Circle.

But, it just wasn't to be. In Lap 116, just as the starter pulled out a yellow flag to check for debris on the track, Billy Boat radioed in to his spotter and crew"What happened? Do you see flames?" As they quickly checked their telemetry instruments, he stated,"I just lost power. It feels like the speed limiter kicked in." Just as suddenly, all readings and functions in the car were back to normal. Boat called in again,"let's pit and see what happens." He came in for a pit stop, got fuel and new tires and went back onto the track just before the green flag was waved to resume racing. As the field of cars accelerated, Boat knew something was wrong, the car would not react to his commands and again, it lost power. He steered the car to the pits, but as he pulled in, spotter Scott Passmore reported that there were sightings of fire coming out the back of the car. The IRL safety crew as well as Boat's own pit crew sprung into action and as the #98 rolled into the pit, it was doused with water and Boat was safely pulled from his vehicle.

"We had a car that could win this race," he stated. "Unfortunately right before that last yellow we had an electrical problem that caused the engine to malfunction. It's disappointing to have a car that good and not to make it to the end. Racing is sometimes like that, sometimes you just can't buy a break. But we're going to hang in there, go to Texas and try it again."

Sam Hornish, Jr. who finished .0024 seconds ahead of Al Unser, Jr., (the closest margin of victory in Indy Racing League history), won the Delphi Indy 300. Boat, one of 11 drivers who did not finish the race ended up with a 19th place finish.

The CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team left Joliet to drive to Indianapolis to do repair work on the #98, getting it ready for next weekend's season finale in Texas.

The final race for the Indy Racing League will be this Saturday, September 15th at 3:00pm EDT.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , Al Unser , Sam Hornis