Kentucky dreams go flat for Curb Team. It sure seemed like it was going to be a great race. Billy Boat was starting from the front row in a car that felt great. By Lap 26, the CURB Records team had taken over the lead -- at one point leading...
Kentucky dreams go flat for Curb Team.
It sure seemed like it was going to be a great race. Billy Boat was starting from the front row in a car that felt great. By Lap 26, the CURB Records team had taken over the lead -- at one point leading by over 2 seconds.
But the persistent gremlins that have been chasing the team all season weren't ready to go away quite yet.
Suddenly in Lap 115, the #98 Infiniti/Dallara/Firestone tilted to the side and lost momentum -- the rear right tire had blown out, leaving the car literally running on its rim. Due to the skill of driver Billy Boat, the car avoided crashing or causing harm to anyone else on the race track and limped back to its pit.
The team had to bring the car back in two more times for quick checks and adjustments and Boat had to carefully rejoin the pack; the blow-out and resulting drive on the rim had damage part of the body work on the car, including the tire ramp, also affecting its performance.
Billy Boat determinedly began his climb back toward victory, passing a few cars, when suddenly, as had happened on at least two other occasions this season, the race car lost it's sixth, then fifth gear. The two most important gears used in a race. At that point, it was just a matter of holding on to the car, avoiding danger -- and staying out of the way of cars that were traveling much faster. It was a long 60 or so laps for Billy Boat who was powerless -- he couldn't pass, couldn't accelerate and couldn't help but watch everyone around him pass him by.
"We had a great racecar. We led the race, we were in the hunt. Of course, then we cut a tire down, blew that tire out and were lucky to recover. Unfortunately, after that we lost 5th and 6th gear in our transmission and we weren't able to compete at that point."
With three races left in the season, Boat's optimism is bruised, but not broken, "The guys did a great job in the pits; we're getting better every week. In the first pit stop we came in third and went out leading the race. We're going to continue to work hard. We've got a good team, a great group of guys we just need to get a little bit of luck and the only way you get that is to keep showing up every week. So, you know, we'll go to St. Louis and look for better finishes."
The team's next race, the Gateway Indy 250 can be seen live from St. Louis's Gateway International Raceway on Sunday, August 25 beginning at 3:00pm EDT on ESPN.