IRL: Michigan: Billy Boat preview

Curb Records Team heads to Michigan with high hopes. The CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team is heading into this weekend's inaugural event at the Michigan International Speedway with a renewed sense of hope and anticipation. After struggling...

Curb Records Team heads to Michigan with high hopes.

The CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team is heading into this weekend's inaugural event at the Michigan International Speedway with a renewed sense of hope and anticipation. After struggling with frustration for the beginning of the IRL season, the team finally saw success last weekend in Nashville, TN when Billy Boat captured the coveted Pole position for the Firestone Indy 200.

As the CURB Records team heads into the 11th race in the 15-race 2002 IRL season, Billy Boat is well aware that there have been 7 different winners in the 10 races this year and he is hoping to make it 8 this weekend. "Heading to Michigan, the CURB team is better prepared than ever to battle at the front of the pack," says Boat. "Although we didn't get a chance to test and I've never been to the track, I'm hoping that we can take some of what we learned in Fontana [California Speedway], which is similar to Michigan and apply it in order to get up to speed quickly. Our performance in Nashville, although it didn't end as well as we'd have liked, was encouraging. We sat on the pole and ran up front all during the race and I expect that we're going to be in the same position in Michigan."

This is the second race in Indy Racing League history to take place on a 2-mile track, with the first this past March at California Speedway. And although the Michigan Indy 400 may be the first Indy Racing League event at Michigan International Speedway, the track has a strong tradition of open-wheel racing. Open-wheel races have taken place every year since the inaugural race in 1968, and nearly every top driver in open-wheel racing has won there, including Indianapolis 500 winners Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Emerson Fittipaldi, A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Rick Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Rutherford, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser, Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Unser.

Billy Boat anticipates that the 2-mile, high-banked Michigan International Speedway will offer a lot of excitement for fans. "I'm sure that the 2-mile oval in Michigan will provide plenty of side-by- side, wheel-to-wheel action and large packs of cars racing wheel-to-wheel the entire race."

The Michigan Indy 400 will air live on ABC Sunday, July 28 at 3:00pm (EDT). You can watch live pre-race coverage on ESPN2's "Indy Racing 2Day," beginning at noon (EDT).

-cabir-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Billy Boat , Bobby Rahal , Mario Andretti , Al Unser Sr. , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Danny Sullivan , Emerson Fittipaldi , Gordon Johncock , A.J. Foyt , Johnny Rutherford