IRL: Indy500 Foyt RacingBilly Boat Quotes 98-05-15

Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Driver Billy Boat Quotes May 15, 9:00 a.m., Press Conference "The team has done a great job of getting the cars prepared and getting me comfortable. The last couple of days we have been experimenting with a few...

Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Driver Billy Boat Quotes May 15, 9:00 a.m., Press Conference

"The team has done a great job of getting the cars prepared and getting me comfortable. The last couple of days we have been experimenting with a few different setups. Today I think you're going to see us go out and try to run fast, trying to get ready for tomorrow."

Will you make any runs in the heat of the day in case your draw isn't what you want it to be?

"We'll probably run at various times during the day. We'll go out first thing this morning, also around 2:30 to 3 just to see what the race cars are going to do. A.J.'s not real excited about that last hour of happy hour. A lot of things can happen. Y ou can get in trouble that way. I think that's why you see him not put us out there when there are a lot of cars out on the race track. You can run fast then but it doesn't really mean much."

How important is the draw going to be?

"I think if you have any shot at the pole it is going to be very critical. I think that you can see a mile an hour, a mile and a half just based on the time of day you run. So if you happen to get stuck with your shot at the pole during the middle of th e day you're probably just going to have to take it and see what it does. The weather is going to play a factor tomorrow. Their predicting a little rain for the morning so if the window gets short on your shot at the pole it can be pretty interesting."

Does your experience driving midgets and sprint cars have anything to do with running here?

"I think the biggest thing that running the midgets and sprint cars has done for me is that it helped me learn to race. They teach you to run close, how to run fast, be good in traffic, and have good race strategy to try to win the race. Let's face it g oing out there and running fast right now doesn't mean anything. The guy that wins on May 24 is really what we are all here for. Winning races is what racing midgets and sprint cars has helped me the most to do."

How much does it mean to win a pole here? Is there more pressure here?

"The pole pays a lot more money here also. A lot of guys come here because it pays to win the pole here than it does to win some of the races. You definitely put a lot of focus on the pole. But there are probably half a dozen teams out there that can s it on the pole. Maybe a handful have a better shot than others do. I think it is going to be an interesting day. Like Kenny said the race is really what we are here for."

Your grew up in midgets and sprint cars, Is this the Broadway of racing?

"I can remember when I came here in 1987 when I was running Indy Lights in '86 and '87 and that year I towed the car myself. I was the only guy on the crew. I had two guys that flew to the races. I slept in my truck and the whole deal. To be here with this first class A.J. Foyt/Conseco team is a dream for me. I am very privileged to be a part of this race team."

In the Menard garage they are talking about however fast you run they have enough to cover you. Do you have something hidden back there to cover them?

"It's always good to have a great rivalry in the pit area and I think the Foyt/Menard rivalry gives you guys something to write about. I don't think you will see A.J. as excited about going out and trying to post the fast speed as you might see Team Mena rd. He has been here a long time and he knows what can happen. On the other side of that, sure its great to go out and set the top speed of the day but if something was to happen if someone was to get in trouble in front of you it could really put your program behind. He doesn't feel it is worth taking that risk. I was all ready to go out and try to run fast yesterday but he sent us back to the garage. He's been here a long time and we just have to go with his experience. We are going to go out an d run as hard as we can tomorrow, whatever we come up with we'll just take it and be prepared to go 500 miles."

Is anything less than a front-row starting spot a disappointment for you?

"A.J. would like to see both of his cars on the front row. I think we have the speed to do that. Our main goal is to get the cars qualified up front and then concentrate on race day."

Comment about what A.J. brings to the program for you?

"The thing that is great for me is when you get in a little bit of a slump and you lose your track a little bit he will tell you a story about the time when he used to kick himself in the butt because he was doing the same thing. He can relate to what yo u are going through very well. He's been around this race track so many times. He's experienced running fast here, being in a slump here, and struggling here. He knows the various emotions that this place can throw at you."

Is he understanding about it?

"He's understanding but he'll usually send you back to the garage to think about it."

Have you worked on four lap runs at one time?

I think it's very significant because that is what you are going to have to do when you go out to qualify. I think Goodyear has done a tremendous job of getting us a good tire here and a very consistent race tire. I think we have a consistent tire that is going to stay underneath us very well for four laps. We've run three, four laps and the car seems to stay fairly well so I think we'll be in good shape.

A.J.'s temper was legendary in his younger days. Has he mellowed some?

"I have only heard stories. He grew up in an era where sometimes you had to fight at the pit gate to get paid. That's the era he grew up in and it was a different time. I think he has mellowed but he still has a little fire in him."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt