IRL: Kansas: Billy Boat qualifying report

Curb/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing to start from row 4 in Ameristar Casino Indy 200. Although they were hoping to show-off their new Infiniti power from the front row at tomorrow night's race, the CURB Records team made a respectable showing and ...

Curb/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing to start from row 4 in Ameristar Casino Indy 200.

Although they were hoping to show-off their new Infiniti power from the front row at tomorrow night's race, the CURB Records team made a respectable showing and qualified in eighth place today. Billy Boat will start the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 from the outside of Row 4, alongside IRL points leader Helio Castroneves.

The #98 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone reached a speed of 216.118 and took the lap in 25.3195 seconds. Tomas Scheckter won his second MBNA Pole, the third won this season using an Infiniti engine. Scheckter, the last driver to attempt to qualify, ran a lap in 23.0381 seconds with a speed of 218.547 mph.

Billy Boat has been very happy with the team's new engine during practice sessions at the Kansas.Speedway. "Our new Infiniti engine has definitely picked our program up some. We've been at the front of the speed charts all weekend, which is what you need to be if you're going to plan on running up front. So, we had a little bit of an underperformance and we didn't run as quick as we did in practice, which led to a slightly disappointing qualifying attempt. The racetrack changed a little bit and we didn't quite have the set-up that we needed. But, more importantly, we feel we've got a good racecar; the Infiniti engine is performing great."

This is only the second year that the Indy Racing League has competed at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway; Eddie Cheever, Jr. triumphed last year, marking the first win for the Infiniti Indy 35A engine. The track, which is sold out for tomorrow's Ameristar Casino Indy 200, seats 78,000 spectators. Fans and drivers will have to endure weather conditions of extraordinary heat and humidity -- a factor that will have an effect on car performance and track conditions.

Boat takes the heat in stride and is completely focused on the task at hand -- a good finish for the CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team.

"We're happy with everything right now," he says, "we're up towards the front & that's where we need to be. We feel we have a car that not only can stay in the pack, but also can lead this race. We're going to focus on having a car that can run in traffic, be there at the end and have a good shot to win this race."

The Ameristar Casino Indy 200 takes place tomorrow, Sunday, July 7 at 1:00pm EDT and airs live on ABC television. Pre-race coverage begins at 12:30pm EDT and 10-year-old Chad Boat is scheduled for another special appearance.

NOTE: In the week between the SunTrust Indy Challenge at the Richmond International Raceway and the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 in Kansas City, the Boat family visited Washington DC. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Minetta, who Billy Boat met during a press conference in Indianapolis during the month of May, hosted them. The Boats, who were making their first trip to Washington DC, had an informal meeting with the Secretary in his office and then Secretary Mineta's office arranged a "behind-the-scenes" tour of Capitol Hill and a private tour of the White House. The family also visited national monuments, museums and other attractions.

"It was an amazing experience!" said Boat. "Andrea and I agree that our family's first trip to Washington DC could not have been better. We had an incredible opportunity thanks to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and his staff. They arranged for us to observe our nation's capitol from the inside. To see Capitol Hill, the White House and other Washington DC landmarks like the monuments, memorials and Smithsonian Museum was phenomenal and for the Secretary himself to spend time with us was above and beyond anything we expected. Since our visit was so short, we can't wait to go back to Richmond next year and see the sights we missed. Thank you very much to Secretary Mineta, Martin Whitmer and Kevin Chapman for taking such great care of my family and me. Next year, we hope that some of them will be able to join us as honorary pit crew members."

ABC provided the Boats with a video camera to capture all the excitement during their visit. Fans will be treated to segments of the tapes during the pre-show and yellow-flag periods of tomorrow's race.

-cab-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Chad Boat