Indy 500: Boat Captures Pole for Indy 500

16 May 1998

Billy Boat
Billy Boat
INDIANAPOLIS - Billy Boat won the pole position for the 82nd Indianapolis 500 with a four-lap average of 223.503 mph in the Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt.

Former USAC short-track standout Boat led a front row comprised of second-year Indy starters. Unheralded Greg Ray will start second at 221.125 in the TKM/Genoa Racing Dallara/Aurora/Firestone, and Boat's teammate, Kenny Brack, was third at 220.982 in the PowerTeam Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. It's the first time that three second-year Indy drivers are starting on the front row.

This is the first time a Foyt-owned car has won the pole at Indy since 1975, when Foyt won the last of his four pole positions.

"We didn't have the best conditions, but we had a great car," Boat said. "You know A.J. He never shows his hand. He's always been one of my heroes. He is so intense and committed to try and run fast and build a good racecar."

Boat's qualifying run was even more impressive considering he produced it at 12:47 p.m., during midday temperatures that approached 85 degrees.

"The only problem I had was in Turn 1 with the wind," Boat said. "I was real loose, and I knew I'd have to run it through because I was OK in the others. On the fourth lap, I lost it in Turn 1 and I held my breath three times."

Pep Boys Indy Racing League points leader Tony Stewart earned the fourth starting spot at 220.386 in the Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone. Stewart was the fastest on four of the six days of practice preceding Pole Day, but his car developed handling problems during the morning practice on the 2.5-mile oval.

Defending Indianapolis 500 polesitter and champion Arie Luyendyk failed to qualify in the Sprint PCS-Radio Shack-Qualcomm G Force/Aurora/Firestone. He waved off his only qualifying attempt, with 25 minutes remaining in qualifications, after turning his first lap at just 214.618 mph due to persistent engine problems. Luyendyk will attempt to qualify Sunday, the final day of qualifications. Bubble Day starts at noon.

Rookie Robby Unser became the sixth member of the famous racing family to qualify for the Indy 500. Unser, son of three-time winner Bobby Unser, will start 21st at 216.534 in the Team Cheever Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. He was one of six rookies to qualify Saturday. Robby Unser's cousin, Johnny Unser, will start 25th. Johnny Unser is the son of the late Jerry Unser.

Jimmy Kite, Eliseo Salazar and Tyce Carlson all were unhurt in separate accidents. None of those drivers have qualified yet.

The 82nd Indianapolis 500 is May 24.

POS Car Driver Car Name C/E/T AVG TIME

1 11 Billy Boat Conseco AJ Foyt Racing D/A/G 223.503 2:41.072
2 97 Greg Ray TKM/Genoa Racing D/A/F 221.125 2:42.804
3 14 Kenny Brack AJ Foyt PowerTeam Racing D/A/G 220.982 2:42.909
4 1 Tony Stewart Glidden/Menards Special D/A/F 220.386 2:43.350
5 3 Robby Buhl Johns Manville/Menards Special D/A/F 220.236 2:43.461
6 99 Sam Schmidt Best Western Gold Crown Racing Special D/A/F 219.982
2:43.650
7 8 Scott Sharp Delphi Automotive Systems D/A/G 219.910 2:43.703
8 6 Davey Hamilton Nienhouse Motorsports G Force Aurora G/A/G 219.748
2:43.824
9 21 Roberto Guerrero Pagan Racing Dallara-Oldsmobile D/A/G 218.900
2:44.459
10 4 Scott Goodyear Pennzoil Panther G Force G/A/G 218.357 2:44.868
11 91 Buddy Lazier Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Hemelgarn Racing D/A/G 218.288
2:44.920
12 28T Mark Dismore Kelley Automotive D/A/G 218.096 2:45.065
13 44 J.J. Yeley One Call Communications Quaker State Menards SRS D/A/F
218.044 2:45.104 
14 16 Marco Greco Int. Sports Ltd. Phoenix Racing G/A/F 217.953 2:45.173
15 40 Dr. Jack Miller Crest Racing D/I/F 217.800 2:45.289
16 81 John Paul Jr. Team Pelfrey D/A/F 217.351 2:45.631
17 51 Eddie Cheever Jr. Rachel^s Potato Chips D/A/G 217.334 2:45.644
18 12 Buzz Calkins International Star Registry/Bradley FoodMarts  G/A/G
217.197 2:45.748
19 17 Andy Michner Konica/Syan Racing/Dallara D/A/G 216.922 2:45.958
20 53 Jim Guthrie ISM Racing G/A/G 216.604 2:46.202
21 52 Robby Unser Team Cheever D/A/G 216.534 2:45.256
22 18 Jack Hewitt Parker Machinery G/A/G 216.450 2:46.320
23 55 Steve Knapp ISM Racing G/A/G 216.445 2:46.324
24 98 Donnie Beechler Cahill Auto Racing G/A/F 216.357 2:46.392
25 9 Johnny Unser Hemelgarn Racing  D/A/G 216.316 2:46.423
26 33T Billy Roe Royal Purple/ProLink/Scandia D/A/G 215.781 2:46.836

Legend: R=Indy 500 Rookie
Chassis: D=Dallara, G=G Force, R=Riley & Scott
Engine: A=Oldsmobile Aurora, I=Nissan Infiniti
Tire: F=Firestone, G=Goodyear

Editors Note: The images displayed in this article are available for larger viewing in The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery

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