Boat puts car in the show for 86th Indianapolis 500 Last year, the fastest qualifying time for the Indianapolis 500 was 226.037 mph. All four of Billy Boat's qualifying laps surpassed that this year. And yet, the ...
Boat puts car in the show for 86th Indianapolis 500
Last year, the fastest qualifying time for the Indianapolis 500 was 226.037 mph. All four of Billy Boat's qualifying laps surpassed that this year. And yet, the #98 is currently perched in the 24th position on the starting grid. When asked if that was discouraging, Boat answered, "It is in a way, but in another way, it's exciting for the league. Obviously, people have stepped up and raised the bar at Indianapolis this year. I think it's going to equal out when everyone goes to a race-style set-up, but in the meantime, we're sitting here on pins & needles."
After the drama surrounding his qualifications the past two years, Boat was hoping for an uneventful qualifying attempt. But, as he was pulling out of the box to start his first lap, qualifying was delayed due to rain. Even though the track was reopened shortly thereafter, the weather still remained the biggest question mark of the day. Once he was on the track, Boat was off to a good start and he and engineer Darrell Soppe decided to go with a green flag. His first lap registered 226.120 - faster than the car had gone all month. Speed increased with each lap, although the team still didn't find quite the speed for which they were hoping. When one eye on the darkening sky and another on the list of team still come, the team decided not to wave off the effort, but to keep the time - an average of 226.589.
"The CURB Records team, we've struggled to find the speed we're looking for all week long and today, that's just all we had. We worked hard but for whatever reason we just can't get enough speed out of the racecar. We had some concerns about the weather, as far as the rest of today and tomorrow, but I felt we needed to get one in the show and take our chances from there," says Boat. "We know we have another one in the garage and if need be, we can roll that one out and get it up to speed. So if we get put in the position of having to bump ourselves back in, then that's what we'll do. I've had to do it before so we'll just have to see what everybody else has. Right now, we're just venturing a gamble, covering our bases to make sure we have a car in the show and we will see what everyone else does."
With two more days for cars to attempt to qualify, the CURB team remains cautiously optimistic. Billy Boat summarizes, "You know, we guessed. We guessed what it was going to take - our speed is at the bottom of what we were going to accept and right now it's really going to depend on everybody else. We know there are guys that are going to beat us - probably a lot of guys are going to beat us - but there are a handful of guys out there that are struggling just like we are."
The Indianapolis 500 airs live, May 25 on ABC at 12:00pm EST.