IRL: Team Pelfrey/Billy Boat Texas preview

Billy Boat is ready to tame the highbanks of Texas Motor Speedway, and admits that the track is one of his favorites.and it should be. He's had a lot of success at TMS in the past by claiming a track record and pole (TMS Qualifying Record: ...

Billy Boat is ready to tame the highbanks of Texas Motor Speedway, and admits that the track is one of his favorites.and it should be. He's had a lot of success at TMS in the past by claiming a track record and pole (TMS Qualifying Record: Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, 23.896 sec., 225.979 mph, 9/18/98), and a win in June, 1998. With a lot of testing miles at this facility, as well as a solidly-prepared car and good pit work, Team Pelfrey is looking forward to their first win of the year in the Lone Star State!

Although the Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule took a little break between the last race at Kentucky Speedway in August and the Excite 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on October 15th, Billy Boat sure didn't rest. Working in partnership with the Pennzoil Panther Racing Team, Boat had the opportunity to take the first laps around the brand new Kansas City Speedway, which will host an IRNLS race in 2001. Although the speeds turned were not conducive to testing the car - only about 120 mph - the on-track efforts were used to gauge the smoothness of the new track surface. Only the first layer of asphalt was laid down at the time. Both Boat and track officials deemed the test a success, as Boat was able to give some valuable feedback to the track engineers in order to avoid problems later after more layers of asphalt have been put down. Boat's initial impressions of the new facility left him explaining that it's a cross between the new Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Boat also had the opportunity to run for the Panther Team under more realistic testing conditions, and is credited by Panther management for the Pole Position outgoing driver Scott Goodyear won for that team at Kentucky due to the additional input Boat gave the team.

Team Pelfrey is getting a little assistance from their friends in the Pennzoil Panther Racing Team in preparation for the Excite 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Panther owners agreed to help Team Pelfrey by using their Indianapolis-based shop to help prepare the Pelfrey car for the race, giving the car the full attention and treatment they would give their own Pennzoil-sponsored machines. While they were at it, the "Panther Pack" gave the car a brand new look, a very orange "pumpkin-colored" paint job, perfect for the upcoming Halloween season. The team is planning lots of fun things in Texas around that theme, promoting safety tips to children who will be out on the streets "trick or treating." You might even see some Halloween greetings and a goblin or two on the car by the time it rolls off the trailer on Thursday.

Team Pelfrey believes in working for a much larger purpose than just who wins the race on any given Sunday, and because of this philosophy, has teamed with the local Chisolm Trail (Ft. Worth) Chapter of the American Red Cross for the race in Texas. The Red Cross will aid their effort to promote Halloween safety to the children in the area, and Team Pelfrey will also help promote the Red Cross' efforts in aiding victims of fires, as this week is "National Fire Prevention Week." A special autograph session at the American Red Cross booth will take place as well as other promotional opportunities throughout the weekend.

Billy Boat has been an Indy Car driver since 1996, but prior to his successes on the big tracks of America, he was a record-holder and a feared competitor on the dirt bullrings of the Sprint car and Midget racing scene, and even ran select World of Outlaws races early in his career. Taking advantage of the nearby Texas Motor Speedway dirt track, Billy will be making an appearance to drive the pace car all night, sign autographs and meet with his fans at the World of Outlaws Sprint car race Thursday night, Oct. 12th. Racing is scheduled to start at 7:00 PM.

Team Pelfrey has been busy as the 2000 IRNLS season winds down preparing for a full slate of races in 2001. Sponsor, driver and equipment packages are all being fully explored, and the team is planning a championship-caliber effort aimed directly at the first race of 2001 in Phoenix. Billy Boat has been on one-race deals all year with Team Pelfrey, and is yet to find a permanent home for 2001, so the team is hopeful that an arrangement can be worked out to keep him behind the wheel of the #81 for an extended period of time.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear
Teams Panther Racing