David Reininger - Motorsport News International Las Vegas, NV (October 10, 1998) Billy Boat continued his perfect qualifying record since returning from an injury suffered at the New Hampshire International Speedway last June. Boat returned to...
David Reininger - Motorsport News International
Las Vegas, NV (October 10, 1998) Billy Boat continued his perfect qualifying record since returning from an injury suffered at the New Hampshire International Speedway last June. Boat returned to IRL competition at Pikes Peak International Raceway in August, claiming four consecutive pole positions after his record setting run today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Boat was fourth fastest in this morning's practice session turning a lap at 212.640 mph, his fastest of the event at that point. When it came time to qualify, Boat found an extra two miles an hour, two-tenths of a second quicker than second place qualifier Tony Stewart. Now Boat has to run out front, keeping Stewart from winning and helping his teammate Kenny Brack win the championship.
"I'm going to run my own race," said Boat. "My job is to win the race, Kenny's is to win the championship."
As for winning four consecutive pole positions, Boat said, "You can give 110% toward qualifying but you're never satisfied until you win the race."
With Tony Stewart and Davey Hamilton still in the hunt to take the Pep Boys Indy Racing League Championship, Boat will be facing tremendous pressure to lead the race. "Anytime you've got Tony Stewart up front, he's running as fast as he can and as fast as the race car will let him," said Boat.
Boat broke the existing track record for the present formula IRL cars by 7.154 mph. Boat held the previous record set last October at a speed of 207.413. Twenty drivers bettered the previous record this afternoon.
The Oldsmobile Aurora engine took the top 17 qualifying positions today but the first four qualifiers had their engines prepared by different engine builders. Boat's engines are prepared by Katech, Inc., Tony Stewart's engine program is in-house at Team Menard, Marco Greco uses Roush engines and fourth place qualifier Greg Ray runs with Brayton Engineering engines.
The Las Vegas 500K takes the green flag at 1:00 p.m. PDT on Sunday.