INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 19, 2001 - Raul Boesel and Billy Boat - both still seeking a spot in the 85th Indianapolis 500 - were the fastest drivers May 19 in the final practice for this year's race. There's no question that 1998 Indy pole...
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 19, 2001 - Raul Boesel and Billy Boat - both still seeking a spot in the 85th Indianapolis 500 - were the fastest drivers May 19 in the final practice for this year's race.
There's no question that 1998 Indy pole winner Boat will try to earn a spot in the 33-car field in Bump Day qualifying Sunday with his Curb-Agajanian/Beck Motorsports team. But it's still uncertain whether Boesel will attempt to qualify with Treadway-Hubbard Racing, team spokesman Scott Cronk said. Boesel only started turning laps with the team in Arie Luyendyk's cars Thursday.
Twelve-time Indy veteran Boesel led the speed charts at 222.547 mph in the No. 5T Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, turning the top lap in the final 30 minutes of practice.
"The Treadway-Hubbard team does a great job, and it's great to be working with them again," Boesel said. "I know I have the speed, and I know the team has great cars, especially here at Indy. The weather will play a big part in the speeds tomorrow. So we'll see what tomorrow brings." Boat was second at 222.177 in the No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. It was the second fastest speed of the month for Boat, whose top lap was 222.261 on May 12.
"I think the biggest thing the team has found was we found discrepancies on how we were setting up our race car," Boat said. "We found it on the setup pad. Now it's a much happier race car to drive."
Bump Day qualifications - the final day of qualifying - start at noon (EST) Sunday. Boat hopes to make his attempt early, hoping to avoid the drama of last year. He was the last driver to make the field, starting his run with less than one minute remaining in qualifying.
"I would anticipate that we're going to be one of the first cars on the racetrack in the qualifying line, so right now we're planning to get out there right away before the track and air temperatures heat up," Boat said. MBNA Pole winner Scott Sharp was third fastest today at 221.218 mph in the No. 8T Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone in his first laps since winning the pole. Indy Racing Northern Light Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. was fourth at 221.059 in the No. 4T Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.
Donnie Beechler was fifth at 221.032 in the No. 14T Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Like Boesel, it's uncertain whether Beechler will make a qualifying attempt Sunday. Team owner A.J. Foyt has specified that the team must put its full-time driver, Eliseo Salazar, into the field before Beechler will get a qualification attempt. Salazar was sixth overall at 220.410 in the No. 14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.
Thirty-five drivers in 37 cars turned a total of 1,724 laps today. There were two incidents.
Tyce Carlson was released from Methodist Hospital in good condition with a back strain after crashing in the #60T Tri Star Motorsports Inc./Immke Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone while exiting Turn 4. He was not cleared to drive.
Jim Guthrie was unhurt when his No. 27 Blueprint Racing Special G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone crashed in Turn 4.