IRL: Team Pelfrey/Billy Boat Texas Texas qualifying

Driver: Billy Boat Qualified for Excite 500: 22nd with a speed of 209.763 mph Final Practice: 11th quick with a speed of 212.351 mph ** Car engine got a cracked cylinder head during the morning practice on Saturday. The team did not have...

Driver:  Billy Boat Qualified for Excite 500:  22nd with a speed of
209.763 mph Final Practice:  11th quick with a speed of 212.351 mph

** Car engine got a cracked cylinder head during the morning practice on Saturday. The team did not have time to change it before qualifying, so they had to qualify with a bad motor. The team changed the engine before Saturday's afternoon practice. The engine that they had a problem with is an Indy Engine Development motor. The engine they are putting into the car for the afternoon practice is a Speedway Engines motor. Speedway Engines supplies the power for championship contenders Buddy Lazier (in points lead entering this race) and Scott Goodyear.

** Team Pelfrey is proud to announce that Zali Racing of Las Vegas, NV, has come on board as an associate sponsor for this Sunday's Excite 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Zali President, Eric Zimmerman, is in the process of forming a team for the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season. The purpose of this associate sponsorship deal is to show race officials, team owners and fans that Zali Racing is serious in their effort to become one of the teams to challenge for the IRNLS championship next year. "My wife and I have been a big fan and supporter of Billy Boat for the past several year," Zimmerman stated. "We are excited about being involved with Team Pelfrey for this race." Added team owner Dale Pelfrey, "We are happy to welcome Mr. Zimmerman and Zali Racing to the team. We are looking forward to having them with us for this race and possibly into the 2001 season."

** Team Pelfrey also inked another associate sponsorship deal for Sunday's Excite 500. Up In Smoke, a restaurant and motorsports bar in nearby Keller, TX, has come on board for this race, and will host a team party at their restaurant on Saturday night. Owners Phil Dansby and George Hanson were happy to do this after a great time was had by all last year during this event, when Team Pelfrey, Treadway Racing and TeamXtreme gathered at their facility for a night of socialization. Check out www.upinsmokebbq.com for more information about this newest sponsor.

** On June 7, 1997, Billy Boat took the checkers in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series race here at Texas Motor Speedway, and proceeded to celebrate as any winner would in Victory Circle. However, the festive atmosphere was short lived, as rival Arie Luyendyk thought he had also won the race but was being cheated out of it by a scoring error which had put him laps down. Luyendyk took his problem directly to the guy that no one ever wants to confront, Boat's car owner at the time A.J. Foyt, who took exception to the interruption of his victory celebration and hit Luyendyk, knocking him to the ground. Boat's victory was later taken away by IRL officials, who realized their error and awarded the win to Luyendyk. That memory will forever be a part of Billy Boat's Indy car career, but here at Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend's Excite 500, he can take comfort that his supposed victory in 1997 started the same way his weekend has progressed this year. Billy started from the 22nd spot then, the same as he is for Sunday's race. Boat later went on to win here in Texas in 1998. With a new engine in the "pumpkin car" and a whole lot of determination, Boat expects to work the traffic to his advantage and get to the front again, hopefully taking the victory for real for the second time.

** Team Pelfrey and driver Billy Boat is the subject of an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes at an Indy car race. The CBS television affiliate out of San Antonio, TX, WKENS, is following the team around Saturday and Sunday, recording the ups and downs of life in their Indy car garage. Anchor Joe Reinagel of WKENS says the two-part series will air sometime in November.

Billy Boat (qualified 22nd): "We knew we were in trouble with the cracked cylinder head, but we had to go out and do the best we could. It's disappointing because we felt we had a car that was capable of a 212 (mph lap) by ourselves, but we lost two-and-a-half miles an hour during qualifying. It's not where we want to be."

Billy Boat on final practice on Saturday, after engine change (11th quickest): "We're still trying to tune the engine, and the fuel map is not quite right yet. I feel we've got a car that's competitive, though. We'll start in the back and see what the race gives us. I think we can run with the leaders. This engine is definitely an improvement, as the other one was laying down quite a bit. I think we'll be in traffic all day long. Having some good power makes my job a whole lot easier. I now feel I can run somebody down and pass them."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Arie Luyendyk , Billy Boat , Scott Goodyear , A.J. Foyt