BOAT CRUISES TO NEW ENGLAND 200 POLE WITH A TOUCH OF DRAMA LOUDON, N.H., June 27, 1998 - Billy Boat earned the pole for the New England 200 with a best lap of 162.146 mph, taking the top spot on the second-to-last Pep Boys Indy Racing ...
BOAT CRUISES TO NEW ENGLAND 200 POLE WITH A TOUCH OF DRAMA
LOUDON, N.H., June 27, 1998 - Billy Boat earned the pole for the New England 200 with a best lap of 162.146 mph, taking the top spot on the second-to-last Pep Boys Indy Racing League qualifying run Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Boat, from Phoenix, set a track record for the new-formula Pep Boys IRL cars. Marco Greco set the previous record of 160.594 mph while winning the pole for the 1997 New England 200. The third annual New England 200 starts at 2 p.m. (EDT) on the 1.058-mile oval. Boat won his second PPG Pole Award of the season in the Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. Boat won the pole this year at Indy. He earned his first career Pep Boys IRL victory at the True Value 500 earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway.
Qualifying took place after only one practice session, as the morning practice was canceled by rain. NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour cars, also racing here this weekend, practiced just before IRL qualifying.
"The rubber from the modifieds made the car looser," Boat said. "I definitely think it was an advantage to go out last today. It was kind of like the old dirt track days. They went out and cleaned off the track for me.
"Everything fell into place for us today, and this is the last place I expected to get the pole. The confidence level of this team is high now."
Boat grabbed the pole from Jeff Ward, who ended up second at 161.089 in the ISM Racing-Prolong-Team Tabasco G Force/Aurora/Goodyear.
1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier qualified third at 159.538 in the Hemelgarn Racing-Delta Faucet Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, and Scott Sharp will round out the second row at 159.191 in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.
Sharp is tied atop the Pep Boys IRL point standings with Tony Stewart, who qualified sixth at 158.899 in the Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
This year's Indianapolis 500 winner, Eddie Cheever Jr., qualified 11th at 157.486 in the Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips-Team Cheever Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Defending New England 200 champion Robbie Buhl was 12th at 157.032 in the Johns Manville-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.
Starting lineup for Sunday's New England 200 Pep Boys Indy Racing League race on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, make of car/engine and qualifying speed Saturday:
1. (11) Billy Boat, Phoenix, Dallara/Aurora, 162.146 mph. 2. (35) Jeff Ward, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., G Force/Aurora, 161.089. 3. (91) Buddy Lazier, Vail, Colo., Dallara/Aurora, 159.538. 4. (8) Scott Sharp, E. Norwalk, Conn., Dallara/Aurora, 159.191. 5. (4) Scott Goodyear, Carmel, Ind., G Force/Aurora, 159.011. 6. (1) Tony Stewart, Indianapolis, Dallara/Aurora, 158.899. 7. (5) Arie Luyendyk, Scottsdale, Ariz., G Force/Aurora, 158.720. 8. (14) Kenny Brack, Sweden, Dallara/Aurora, 157.937. 9. (30) Raul Boesel, Brazil, G Force/Aurora, 157.780. 10. (10) John Paul Jr., W. Palm Beach, Fla., G Force/Aurora, 157.616. 11. (51) Eddie Cheever Jr., Tampa, Fla., Dallara/Aurora, 157.486. 12. (3) Robbie Buhl, Indianapolis, Dallara/Aurora, 157.032. 13. (28) Mark Dismore, Greenfield, Ind., Dallara/Aurora, 156.535. 14. (16) Marco Greco, Brazil, G Force/Aurora, 155.913. 15. (98) Donnie Beechler, Springfield, Ill., G Force/Aurora, 154.109. 16. (77) Stephan Gregoire, Indianapolis, Dallara/Aurora, 153.198. 17. (15) Eliseo Salazar, Chile, Riley & Scott/Aurora, 152.547. 18. (52) Robby Unser, Santa Fe, N.M., Dallara/Aurora, 150.290. 19. (40) Dr. Jack Miller, Carmel, Ind., Dallara/Infiniti, 149.201. 20. (18) Jack Hewitt, Troy, Ohio, G Force/Aurora, 148.752. 21. (44) J.J. Yeley, Phoenix, Dallara/Infiniti, 148.399. 22. (6) Davey Hamilton, Las Vegas, G Force/Aurora, 148.076. 23. (12) Buzz Calkins, Denver, G Force/Aurora, 147.285. 24. (99) Sam Schmidt, Las Vegas, Dallara/Aurora, 144.218. 25. (81) Brian Tyler, Parma, Mich., Dallara/Aurora, 142.593. 26. (19) Stan Wattles, Sewall's Point, Fla., Riley & Scott/Aurora, provisional.