Boat puts on show for sponsor by winning Nashville pole. LEBANON, Tenn., Friday, July 19, 2002 -- Billy Boat won the MBNA Pole for the 1998 Indianapolis 500, but it's safe to say that the pole he earned July 19 for the Firestone Indy 200 at ...
Boat puts on show for sponsor by winning Nashville pole.
LEBANON, Tenn., Friday, July 19, 2002 -- Billy Boat won the MBNA Pole for the 1998 Indianapolis 500, but it's safe to say that the pole he earned July 19 for the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway also was one to remember.
Boat, from Phoenix, earned his ninth career MBNA Pole and first since July 1999 at Atlanta with a lap of 22.9666 seconds, 203.774 mph. His speed was a track record by nearly 4 mph.
The pole in the No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone came in the hometown of Boat's team co-owner, Mike Curb, and the Curb/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team's primary sponsor, country music giant CURB Records. It also culminated a perfect opening day for Boat, who led both practice sessions before qualifying.
"It's really good to be up front," Boat said. "It's been a long time since we've got a pole. It's great to get one here in Nashville, hometown of CURB Records. The weekend so far has just gone fantastic.
"We're just looking to capitalize on it tomorrow night. There's always a little bit of extra pressure because we have a lot of people here. We want to do well, and this is a good way to start it."
The Firestone Indy 200 starts at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday on the 1.33-mile concrete oval and will be televised live on ESPN2.
Boat led a list of 20 drivers who exceeded 200 mph during qualifying and broke the track record of 199.922 set last year by Greg Ray. Less than two-tenths of a second separated the top 13 drivers.
Series points leader Helio Castroneves qualified second at 23.0130, 203.363 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Defending Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. was third at 23.0446, 203.084 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.
Rookie Tomas Scheckter qualified fourth at 23.0560, 202.984 in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, with Alex Barron rounding out the top five at 23.0599, 202.950.
Defending event champion Buddy Lazier was 12th at 23.1315, 202.322 in the No. 91 Coors Light/Life Fitness/Tae-Bo/Delta Faucet Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Rookie Tony Renna, making his IRL debut, qualified 14th at 23.1797, 201.901 in the No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.
Final practice is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (CDT) Saturday.