Boat Hopes for Good Luck in Las Vegas LAS VEGAS, Nev.: Oct. 2, 1998 -h Indy car driver Billy Boat hopes that his visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Las Vegas 500K on Sunday, Oct. 11, will bring a change of luck for him and the ...
Boat Hopes for Good Luck in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, Nev.: Oct. 2, 1998 -h Indy car driver Billy Boat hopes that his visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Las Vegas 500K on Sunday, Oct. 11, will bring a change of luck for him and the Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing team.
Since his victory at Texas Motor Speedway in June, Boat just can't seem to make it back to winner's circle. That victory propelled him to a close third in the championship standings, and combined with his pole position at the Indianapolis 500 he raised enough attention to be labeled one of the hottest drivers in the series. Now, a short four months later, Boat is on a streak of bad luck when it comes to finishing races.
It started at the New Hampshire race when he broke his leg in an accident, which sidelined him for two races and took away his hopes for the championship this year. After a remarkable recovery, he returned to the cockpit of the No. 11 Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear only four and a half weeks after his accident, but only to suffer from various setbacks on track.
In the last three IRL races at Pikes Peak, Atlanta, and Texas, Boat finished 9th, 12th, and 14th, respectively. Disappointing finishes on their own, but even more disappointing considering he started each of those races from the pole position.
One thing that Boat will stand above the rest for this season is in winning poles. He has won more than any other driver has this season, with five pole positions, and he has the IRL record for the most consecutive poles earned, with three consecutive poles. He also holds the record for the fastest speed ever reached in qualifying for the new formula Indy Racing League car (225.979 mph).
Heading into the final round of the 1998 Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship, Boat will once again focus on winning the pole and adding another victory to his list. Unlike his A.J. Foyt Enterprises teammate Kenny Brack, who only has to finish eighth or better to win the championship, Boat will go into this race looking for a victory.
"I probably have the advantage of being a little more aggressive since I have nothing to lose," Boat said. "We can go out and run as hard as we can, try to sit on the pole, and try to win the race."
Boat, who won the pole position for last year's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, looks forward to racing on the 1.5-mile speedway located about 17 miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas.
"Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a mile-and-a-half, but because it is banked less than Charlotte or Texas it is a more challenging track for the driver," Boat said. "It is much harder to run it wide open. It drives more like Phoenix than Texas."
The schedule of events for the Las Vegas 500K starts with practice on Friday, Oct. 9, qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 10, and the 208-lap, 312-mile race on Sunday, Oct. 11. The battle for the PPG Pole Award will be televised on Speedvision at 9 p.m. (EDT) on Oct. 10. TNN will broadcast the season-ending race live on Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. (EDT).
Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Team Notes
Polls Close Soon for 1998 Most Popular Driver Award: MCI, On Track, and the Indy Racing League Crew have joined forces to present The IRL Most Popular Driver Award. The winner of this award is determined by votes placed by fans for their favorite driver. Votes can be made online at www.mciracing.com or check out the latest issue of On Track. The winner will be announced Oct. 11, 1998 in Las Vegas, Nev. during pre-race activities. The winner will also be featured in the Nov. 12, 1998 issue of On Track.