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Indy 500: Boat Sails at Indy with Top Speed in Practice

13 May 1998

INDIANAPOLIS - Billy Boat recorded the fastest and third-fastest speeds in different cars during practice for the 82nd Indianapolis 500, topping out at 221.691 mph in the Conseco Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear owned by four-time Indy winner A.J. Foyt.

Boat posted the fastest speed in his backup car while midday temperatures approached 85 degrees. His best speed in his primary car was 220.751, also turned in warm conditions less than two hours after his fastest speed.

"The thing that helped me the most today was talking to A.J. last night about the different lines that you can take around this track," Boat said. "With all of the cars that have run this month, there's a lot more rubber down and a lot more grooves.

"I was having trouble finding the right lines. That's the benefit of having a four-time winner as your team owner. He's not shy about telling you what you do wrong."

Said Foyt: "Our goal is to try to qualify as well as possible and also to win the race. That's the reason we've been doing all of this running in the middle of the day at race time."

Pole Day is May 16 and Bump Day May 17 in the new, shortened qualifying format. The Indianapolis 500 is May 24.

Scott Sharp was second fastest at 221.517 mph in the Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. Defending race champion Arie Luyendyk was fourth fastest at 220.464 in the Sprint PCS-Radio Shack-Qualcomm G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Sharp and Luyendyk both posted their best speeds during the last 25 minutes of practice in cooler, late afternoon conditions.

Tony Stewart, fastest Monday and Tuesday, didn't practice as his team spent the day fine-tuning the engines for his Glidden-Menards Special Dallara/Aurora/Firestone.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford was honored as part of the Speedway's Parade of Champions. Four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Sr. will be honored Thursday.

Practice continues at 11 a.m. Thursday.