Hampton, GA - ...
Hampton, GA - #51 Excite@Home driver Eddie Cheever Jr. enters the seventh round of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series, the Midas 500 Classic at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as the championship leader, but the Indy Racing veteran doesn't feel any added pressure.
"It just so happens that we're leading the championship, but it's not going to change the way I drive," explains Cheever, who moved into the Indy Racing points lead following his June 18th victory at Pikes Peak International Raceway. "If a car is in front of me, I want to pass it. I try to get the most out of race car every time I'm on the track, and I leave the other decisions up to the guys in the pits. I drive instinctively, but I've reached a point in my life where my testosterone level is just about equal to my talent level."
"In the past, I was too combative - if a driver looked at me the wrong way, I'd focus on him in the race," admits Cheever. "I'm not going to change the way I drive - why should I, when it's working well? - but I've learned a lot in twenty-five years of racing. Right now, I believe that what's ahead of me is going to be even better than what's behind me. With the support of Excite@Home and Infiniti, we have the assets to make a very strong run for the championship."
Cheever's victory at the Radisson Indy 200 - his fourth career Indy Racing win, and the first victory for the #51 Excite@Home team and the Infiniti Indy engine - propelled the 1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion into first place in the Indy Racing standings with 176 points, ahead of Buddy Lazier with 168 points. Cheever, who has finished in the top ten in five of six Indy Racing events this season, has also led four of the six rounds of 2000 competition.
The Midas 500 Classic will be televised live on ESPN at 8:00pm EDT on July 15. MBNA Pole qualifying will be shown on ESPN2 at 8:00pm EDT on July 14.