IRL: Michigan: Billy Boat raceday notes

Curb Records team finishes 11th race of the season. It is widely understood by drivers that every racetrack is vastly different. Though theoretically an inanimate object, each track has its own personality, quirks and challenges that make it...

Curb Records team finishes 11th race of the season.

It is widely understood by drivers that every racetrack is vastly different. Though theoretically an inanimate object, each track has its own personality, quirks and challenges that make it seem like a living, breathing beast. That's why when preparing the set-up and planning execution on a track they've raced at previously, drivers and engineers rely heavily on notes and calculations from past years and experiences. For the Curb/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team, the lack of experience and lack of testing time at the Michigan International Speedway contributed to a 14th place finish at yesterday's Michigan Indy 400.

Following a last minute engine change just before qualifying on Saturday, the CURB Records team participated in the weekend's final practice session. Although they finished 8th on the speed charts, they actually had the fastest time since the cars above them accomplished their speeds with the help a draft. They were optimistic about their chances in the race, even though they struggled all weekend, first with engine problems and then handling -- a sudden heavy rainstorm just prior to the race washed away all of the rubber that had been laid during the three days of practice and other races.

Boat started the race from the 10th row and following some changes to the front wing of the car early in the race, slowly made his way up in the pack until he was running in the Top 10. Unfortunately, about 65 laps into the race, he lost 6th gear. A hundred laps later, 5th gear dropped out, eliminating the chance for Boat to accelerate to the point where he could overtake cars ahead of him on the track.

"The CURB Records car was as fast as any other car on the track today but we just couldn't get it all together at the same time. The car had a bad push early on - the rain had washed all the rubber off the track - and it took two pit stops to really get the car right. It put us a lap down early and we just could never recover from that. I mean, we drove to the front, passed the leaders, but just could never get a yellow at the right time. We lost 6th gear and then 5th gear and at that point, we were just coasting."

Boat patiently and carefully controlled the car, and brought it home, finishing the race in 14th position -- five better than where he started. The CURB Records team now looks ahead to the Belterra Casino Indy 300 at the Kentucky Speedway on August 11.

"We have a fast race car, but we just need to work on putting it all together. We'll go now and get ready for Kentucky."

-cabir-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat