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07/28 2017

“RR-AZ ALUM”…Chad Boat To Return To Midget Competition by  Richie Murray -July 27, 2017

Chad Boat (Brad Brown photo)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — One month after a frightening accident during the USAC National Midget event at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway, Chad Boat will return to midget racing Aug. 1-5.

“Anytime you’re out of the race car, it’s never good, even if it’s the offseason,” Boat said. “When you’re out for other reasons, it’s definitely a bummer, but I think it was in my best interest to take a couple weeks off not only for me to regroup, but for us to regroup as a team.”

Boat was referring to the July 2 crash at Lincoln that saw him flip approximately 15 times.

Boat was absent from the following day’s midget race in Springfield, Ill., then geared up to make his Indy Lights debut at Iowa Speedway the following Sunday, but that would have to be put on the backburner for the time being.

“Dr. (Terry) Trammel and the IndyCar medical staff thought it would be best for me to sit out the Iowa race, which was disappointing, but obviously they’re known worldwide for their car and their doctors,” Boat said. “Obviously, I wanted to be in the car, but sometimes you have to let other people make those decisions. I think they were definitely looking out for my best interests. But I feel a lot better now. They thought it would be a couple weeks before I was back to 100 percent, so I’m definitely back and ready to go now.”

The flip never seemed to end as the black No. 84 sailed out of most fans’ views and into the darkness of the open field outside turn one. It was a crash that Boat believes was the toughest of his career.

“I’ve had some pretty hard sprint car crashes, but just the distance and the amount of time I was flipping was the worst part of it,” Boat explained. “Usually, you have something that stops you eventually, but it kept flipping on its own because we were in an open field. It was definitely not a good feeling and not something I want to do anymore. The best way to avoid that is to run up front and lead laps; that’s how we’ll fix that.”

Boat will return to action Aug. 1 at Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway before continuing on to Solomon Valley Raceway Aug. 2 and the Belleville High Banks Aug. 4-5.

Last year, Boat scored his first career victory at Jefferson County and followed it up with a sweep of the Belleville Midget Nationals.

“It just kind of clicked,” Boat stated. “At that point of the season, we were starting to figure out our cars and they were getting better. We don’t run anything else besides the USAC National races. Other guys go off and run other series and run a lot more than we do, so it took us a little more time to catch up during the season.”

Boat’s statistics are quite similar to last years at this point in the season and it’s been since Belleville that he’s tasted the sweet nectar of victory.

“We had a couple good runs during Indiana Midget Week,” Boat acknowledges. “Our biggest issue is that we’ve been qualifying badly. We need to rectify that. The series is so competitive right now, you can’t be starting in the back of these races. I think we’ve had good speed in the races, we just need to qualify better. That’s definitely something we’ve been focusing on.”

However, Boat feels like he’s in a good place heading into the upcoming four-race set.

“We’re coming back with the same exact cars that won last year at Jefferson County and at Belleville,” Boat said. “We’ve been running different chassis this year. We’re going to take that out of the equation and see if we can get back to basics and find some of that raw speed we had last year in qualifying. Hopefully, that will transition into making our nights easier by starting at the front and running up front.”