IRL: Texas II: Billy Boat Saturday report

Boat to start on inside of row 7 for Chevy 500. Billy Boat has said all weekend that he has a good racecar. One that he's confident will take him across the finish line in style at Sunday's Chevy 500. However, the crew struggled with its ...

Boat to start on inside of row 7 for Chevy 500.

Billy Boat has said all weekend that he has a good racecar. One that he's confident will take him across the finish line in style at Sunday's Chevy 500. However, the crew struggled with its qualifying set-up and the #98 didn't have quite as much speed during today's qualifying session at the Texas Motor Speedway. Boat did end up in the Top half of the starting grid-- he will start on the inside of Row 7, next to Felipe Giaffone.

The CURB/Agajanian/Boat Indy Racing team did a fast lap of 218.027 in 24.0245 seconds.

"For whatever reason, 218 [mph] is about as fast as we could get the CURB Records car up to in qualifying trim," reported Boat as he exited the CURB Records Dallara/Infiniti. "We ran that fast in a race setup configuration, so we feel that we've got a good race setup, we should have a good racecar. The car was good in traffic, good with a full load, we were just missing something a little bit in qualifying. But, that's behind us now; we'll just focus on our racecar."

Rookie Vitor Meira captured the pole with a quick lap of 221.594 mph in 23.6378 seconds. As the last car to attempt to qualify, Meira needed just one lap to knock Indy Racing League veteran Al Unser, Jr. off the pole.

Ironically, Billy Boat set the track record at this race in 1998 - 225.979mph. The fastest lap so far this weekend was turned today by Buddy Rice at 221.695 mph.

Boat is looking forward to competing at one of his favorite tracks tomorrow,"Right now I'm really happy w/the CURB Records car. We've been making changes and trying to find what we've been missing. I think we found a couple of things in that practice session that really help the racecar. We picked up a lot of speed and my car's good in the draft, so I'm excited for the race. You know, it's hard without track time and when you can't test; I just wish we could have had some more track time-- we didn't get a lot of good practice sessions here, so it cost us a little bit. But I guess it's better late than never to figure it out."

In addition to hoping for a much needed boost in team points and morale, Boat looks toward the off season,"We really want to be there at the end of this one, get a good finish-- something we can feel good about during the winter."

The Chevy 500 can be seen live on ABC beginning at 3:00pm EDT tomorrow, Sunday, September 15. "Indy Racing 2Day" pre-race coverage starts at noon EDT on ESPN2. As always, live timing and scoring of all on-track activity can be found on www.indyracing.com.

-cab-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Billy Boat , Buddy Rice , Al Unser , Vitor Meira