IRL: Richmond: Billy Boat qualifying report

Boat Captures Top 5 Speed of the Day, Will Start SunTrust Indy Challenge from Outside Row Six Billy Boat finished Friday's practice sessions with a Top-5 Speed of the Day. Last week at Pikes Peak Intl Raceway, he proved that you can start in...

Boat Captures Top 5 Speed of the Day, Will Start SunTrust Indy Challenge from Outside Row Six

Billy Boat finished Friday's practice sessions with a Top-5 Speed of the Day. Last week at Pikes Peak Intl Raceway, he proved that you can start in the back of the pack and still lead the race. And his years of experience in short-track ovals and night races are definite advantages at the shortest track (only ¾ of a mile long) on the Indy Racing League schedule.

The IRL rules state that if a car does not take its allotted turn in the qualifying order it will have the opportunity to make a one-lap attempt at the end of the scheduled qualifying order. Due to a mechanical problem that was still being repaired, the CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team missed their appointed slot and had to make the best of their one-lap.

So, although starting in the middle of the pack isn't exactly what the CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team was hoping for, the team has learned that it's all about where you are at the end of the race that really matters.

"An 11th place start for the CURB Records team, with only one qualifying lap, is not quite what we were looking for, but-- We think we have a good race car, we think we had a little bit more in it than that. I tried to run the car harder on that qualifying lap and I hit that bump in Turn 2 a little bit harder and the car got a way from me a little bit. I had to let up on the throttle some so that hurt us a little bit."

With a qualifying speed of 162.921mph in 16.5724 seconds, the #98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevy will start the SunTrust Indy Challenge tomorrow at the Richmond International Raceway from the inside of Row 6, along side Mark Dismore. Penske teammates Gil de Ferran and Helio Castroneves will once again share the first row. Gil de Ferran earned his third MBNA Pole of the season, shattering the track record by more than 8mph with a lap of 168.705mph. Sam Hornish, Jr., Laurent Redon and defending event champion Buddy Lazier round out the race's top five starters.

The Richmond International Raceway is one of Billy Boat's favorite tracks, so he is looking forward to the SunTrust Indy Challenge tomorrow night. "This ¾ mile track provides not only exciting racing but a lot of challenges for the drivers. We had a quick racecar here last year -- we were one of the fastest cars in practice until a qualifying crash put us off track for the weekend so we're here with compensation in mind. We feel the Richmond International Raceway is a good setup, a track I like to run and I'm looking forward to the challenges that it will present."

After qualifying Boat summed it up, "You know, we're still going to have a good race car, so we'll just get ready for the race. The key here is going to be getting thru traffic and being patient and being there at the end."

The SunTrust Indy Challenge will air live on ESPN at 7:30pm EDT on Saturday, June 29. Pre-race coverage begins at 7:00pm EDT.

NOTE: Billy and Andrea Boat's son Chad Boat (10) will be a special correspondent for ESPN during pre-race coverage on Saturday evening. Be sure to tune in to ESPN beginning at 7:00pm to see all of the excitement.

-cab-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Laurent Redon , Chad Boat , Sam Hornis