OLDS POLE NOTES: 18 STRAIGHT FOR IRL AURORA V8 Fort Worth, Texas; September 18, 1998 - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 kept its perfect pole qualifying record intact at Texas Motor Speedway today as the Pep Boys Indy Racing League prepared...
OLDS POLE NOTES: 18 STRAIGHT FOR IRL AURORA V8
Fort Worth, Texas; September 18, 1998 - Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 kept its perfect pole qualifying record intact at Texas Motor Speedway today as the Pep Boys Indy Racing League prepared to stage its first daytime race on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval. Billy Boat sailed to his third straight pole, his fifth of the season, and the sixth of his career in A.J. Foyt's Oldsmobile-powered Dallara.
Boat, the polewinner at Indianapolis, Loudon, Pikes Peak, and Atlanta, set the TMS track qualifying record at 225.979 mph, eclipsing the 224.448 mph qualifying mark set by Tony Stewart in June. Boat's pole-winning speed was the fastest qualifying lap since the IRL introduced its new-generation Indy cars in January 1997. Boat became the first driver in IRL history to win three consecutive poles, and posted the 18th straight pole for the IRL Aurora V8. Boat won the pole with only one qualifying lap after a broken gearbox prevented him from completing his second circuit. Tony Stewart, the polewinner at the two previous Texas races, will start Team Menard's Olds-powered Dallara on the outside of the front row after qualifying at 224.869 mph. Boat, Stewart, and No. 3 qualifier Scott Sharp all bettered the previous qualifying record. Less than one second separated the 24 fastest qualifiers.
OLDSMOBILE DOMINATES. Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 dominated qualifying for the Lone Star 500 as the 17 fastest drivers relied on Oldsmobile power. Twenty-six of the 28 qualifiers (93% of the field) for the Lone Star 500 are using Oldsmobile engines. The fastest Nissan driver qualified 18th with a speed 5.49 mph slower than Boat's pole-winning lap.
OLDSMOBILE QUALIFYING QUOTES: Billy Boat, polewinner: "On the second lap we had a transmission failure, and I didn't think my first lap was fast enough to keep the pole. I would have been more comfortable with something quicker. I had a streak of 10 or 12 fast times in sprint cars, so I've got the art of qualifying down when I need to. We were out-to-lunch this morning in the first practice and changed everything on the car. On the next time out we ran 226 mph. I'm amazed by the depth of A.J.'s knowledge."
A.J. Foyt, car owner: "The car was running 5 mph faster in the speed trap on Billy's second lap before the transmission broke. A lot of cars ran after us, and they were all taking shots at us. Billy qualified with our back-up race motor. It' probably got 15 horsepower less than the qualifying engine in Kenny Brack's car. There's really not that much difference between the qualifying and race engines; we just abuse the qualifying motors a little more and use more radical cams. It's stuff that would probably run all day, but we don't want take a chance on it. I think we've got a pretty good handle on our motors." Tony Stewart, outside front row: " We qualify with the same engines we race with, so if I qualify near the front of the field, I'm pretty pumped up. We've got a lot of guys in the engine department who are probably looking for cots and pillows right now because they've put in a lot of 18-hour days recently. Qualifying on the front row is a good reward for them after the problems we had in Atlanta. "We picked up two points in qualifying; there are 11 guys with a chance to win the championship, and a lot can happen in two races. You've got to get every point you can."
ENGINE BUILDER SCORE CARD. The four fastest qualifiers represent three different Oldsmobile engine builders: Katech, Inc. (polewinner Billy Boat); Team Menard (Tony Stewart, outside front row); and Comptech Machine (Scott Sharp, inside second row and Mark Dismore, outside second row).
TV TIME. The Lone Star 500 will be televised on ABC on Sunday, September 20, at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
LONE STAR 500 TOP FIVE QUALIFIERS
Driver Entrant Engine Speed 1. Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 225.979 mph 2. Tony Stewart Team Menard Oldsmobile 224.869 3. Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 224.551 4. Mark Dismore Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 224.299 5. Jeff Ward ISM Racing Oldsmobile 224.076