IRL: California: Cheever Racing post-race notes

Cheever, Scheckter lead in thrilling California Speedway debut. The Yamaha Indy 400 had a record number of 34 lead changes, and exciting side-by-side racing. Right in the mix of things were the Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti cars of Eddie ...

Cheever, Scheckter lead in thrilling California Speedway debut.

The Yamaha Indy 400 had a record number of 34 lead changes, and exciting side-by-side racing. Right in the mix of things were the Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti cars of Eddie Cheever Jr. and Tomas Scheckter.

Starting from pole position, Cheever led a total of ten times for 33 laps, often among a pack of cars separated by less than a second. In the last stint of the race, he was racing back and forth for the lead with Jaques Lazier when the engine broke on lap 191 of the 200-lap race.

Also in the front pack was Tomas Scheckter who started third. Leading for the first time in the Indy Racing League, Scheckter led five times for 28 laps. He also turned the fastest lap of the race on lap 73 at 222.559 mph. Scheckter's day ended on lap 164 when he slowed down for an apparent engine problem and was hit from behind by Hideki Noda.

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Race:

"I had Jaques, and then I didn't, and then I did. We kept going back and forth. Hornish wasn't even in contention because he was in our dirty air. The Red Bull Cheever Racing car was good today. I think I could have run Jaques down. It's all a question of being in the right position. We were playing with each other. I broke an engine with 18 miles to go. I'm disappointed because I really wanted to do well here in California. It's a good lesson for Indy. The Infiniti engineers have to go back and fix the problem. I am happy to see that at least one Infiniti finished in the top three with Laurent Redon's third place finish. Today could have been our first win of the year. I would have even been happy with a top three. Oh well."

Eddie Cheever Jr. on California Speedway:

"It was very tricky racing here. It is harder than Texas which has more banking. There is not much banking here. It was a lot of fun."

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Tomas:

"The best piece of Tomas' driving today was when he lost several positions and he waited. He was in a bottleneck and got stuck. I was betting money that he was going to be knocking cars right and left, but he waited. That was the best bit of his race."

Tomas Scheckter on Race:

"The race was unbelievable. Everything was going perfect. It was good racing the whole way through: me and Hornish, me and Lazier. It was unfortunate because I was looking forward to the last 20 laps. Eddie and I both had a good chance to do well in this race. Eddie could have won. I was cheering for him when I was in the medical center."

Tomas Scheckter on Accident:

"I was going along by myself trying to take a high line. It felt like someone came along and hit me with a baseball bat. I didn't expect it at all. I just kept my head down and opened my eyes when everything stopped moving."

Red Bull Cheever Racing has a full schedule of testing at Nazareth Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the upcoming weeks. Next on the race schedule is the Firestone Indy 250 at Nazareth Speedway on April 21.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Laurent Redon , Hideki Noda , Jaques Lazier