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Boat Makes Waves With 9th Consecutive Victory


VENTURA — Billy Boat created a little pressure for himself Saturday night at Ventura Raceway with a crucial mistake in a 10-lap heat race before going out and capturing his ninth consecutive USAC Midget victory, giving him 12 in Western States competition.

Boat qualified fastest with a 12.083 second lap, but got sideways in the final turn of his heat race while attempting to pass George Ito of Ventura for second place.

The fifth-place finish in the heat gave Boat 13th starting position for the 40-lap main event.

By the 10th lap, Boat had worked his way up to seventh place, and he passed seven-time Western States champion Sleepy Tripp of Costa Mesa for fifth place on Lap 20.

Two laps later, Boat made an inside pass on Hank Butcher of San Leandro and defending champion John Cofer of Mac Doel to take second place behind Jordan Hermansader of Rancho Palos Verdes.

"They got messed up on the high side while I got a bite on the bottom and passed them," Boat said.

Boat and Hermansader dueled for four laps, with Boat making several attempts to pass before slipping through on the inside.

"The track started to slick up, and the car wasn't as good at the end," said Hermansader, who finished fifth. "When Billy got under me, I didn't want to see it happen, so I took it back. I wasn't going to give it to him."

Boat had two minor scares before taking the checkered flag with a quarter-lap margin over Butcher.

Cofer stalled on Lap 30 to bring out the caution flag after Boat opened up a five-length lead, and Boat briefly lost traction in a corner with two laps remaining.

"I got into the corner a little hard and got it up on two wheels," Boat said.

Marc Hart of Ventura won the 20-lap three-quarter main event, with points leader Scott Hansen of Simi Valley second and Alex Harris of Simi Valley third.

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