IRL: Loudon Oldsmobile Qualifying Report

13 POLES FOR OLDS IRL Aurora V8 Sweeps Top 18 Qualifying Spots, Powers 23 of 25 Qualifiers for New England 200 Loudon, N.H.; June 27, 1998 -- Thirteen was Oldsmobile's lucky number today at the...

13 POLES FOR OLDS

IRL Aurora V8 Sweeps Top 18 Qualifying Spots, Powers 23 of 25 Qualifiers for New England 200

Loudon, N.H.; June 27, 1998 -- Thirteen was Oldsmobile's lucky number today at the "Magic Mile" as Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 engine won its 13th straight pole in Pep Boys Indy Racing League competition at New Hampshire International Speedway. Oldsmobile has now won the pole at every IRL race since the series introduced its 4.0-liter engine formula in January 1997.

Billy Boat extended Oldsmobile's perfect qualifying record with a 162.146 mph lap on the 1.0-mile speedway, setting the track record for the IRL's new-generation naturally aspirated race cars. It was Boat's second career IRL pole; he also put A.J. Foyt's Olds-powered Conseco Indy car on the pole at the Indianapolis 500. Jeff Ward, polewinner at the Phoenix 200 in March, qualified ISM Racing's Oldsmobile-powered G-Force on the outside front row at 161.089 mph.

THE AURORA ADVANTAGE. Oldsmobile engines dominated qualifying for the New England 200, with 23 of the 25 qualifiers (92% of the field) using IRL Aurora V8 engines. The 18 fastest drivers relied on Oldsmobile power.

OLDSMOBILE FRONT ROW QUOTES: Billy Boat: "It was an advantage to go out last. It was like the old dirt track days when the track's a little slick at first. I went out last and it came in. My car was good; the race car came to me, and I think I could have gone even quicker on the next lap. When I saw my time on the first lap, I knew had to step it up a little bit. I drove it in deeper in the corners and picked up the throttle sooner.

     "This is the last place I expected to win a pole.  This was 
our weakest race last year.  To come here and win the pole adds 
to the confidence we gained in Texas.  We expect to qualify well 
and run up front.  Right now we won't accept anything less.

"This is a handling race track. We didn't do anything special for qualifying, we didn't put in a qualifying engine. There are no tricks at all; we had a good handling race car, and that was the key."

Jeff Ward, outside front row: "I don't know what else you can do to make it grip out there. It's night and day from what it was in practice. The car moved more in two laps of qualifying than it did in 45 laps in practice. I'm never surprised when Foyt's cars run up front -- they do it all the time."

ENGINE BUILDER UPDATE. The three fastest qualifiers represent three different Oldsmobile engine builders: Katech (polewinner Billy Boat); Brayton Engineering (Jeff Ward, outside front row); Speedway Engine Development (Buddy Lazier, inside second row).

MORE POWER. A typical IRL Aurora V8 engine produces over 700 horsepower on methanol. Updates in the cams, induction, exhaust, and engine calibration have added approximately 30 horsepower over the Oldsmobile engines that raced in last year's New England 200.

TV TIME. The New England 200 will be televised live on CBS on Sunday, June 28, at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Billy Boat , A.J. Foyt