Owner/driver says fans will see lots of racing, passing. BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Some drivers like to qualify. Some like to test. And then there are those like Eddie Cheever Jr. who just like to race. "I find it really intriguing to go head-to head...
Owner/driver says fans will see lots of racing, passing.
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Some drivers like to qualify. Some like to test. And then there are those like Eddie Cheever Jr. who just like to race.
"I find it really intriguing to go head-to head with drivers who are as equally determined as I am to beat them," said Cheever, who in 32 years behind the wheel has done just that in go-karts, sports cars, stock cars, Indy cars and Formula One.
This weekend, Cheever, driver/owner of the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara Infiniti, brings that spirit to Michigan International Speedway for the Indy Racing League's Michigan Indy 400. Tickets to the Michigan Indy 400 are just $40 for all reserved seats with children 12 and under admitted free all weekend. Combo tickets good for admission Saturday and Sunday are just $50. Call (800) 354-1010 or *MIS on CenturyTel phones or visit www.MISpeedway.com for tickets.
"Michigan is a great racetrack, and this race is an important part of the growing strength of the IRL in the Midwest," he said.
Cheever predicts this race will be even more exciting than the March event at MIS' sister track in California where Sam Hornish Jr. clipped Jacques Lazier at the finish line by .0281 seconds -- less than half a car length -- in a tire-to-tire battle that saw 39 lead changes. Cheever sat on the pole in California.
"We are farther along in the season, and more teams are prepared to run the full 400-mile distance, meaning there will be even more cars battling for the victory," Cheever said. "Fans are going to see a lot of two- and three-abreast racing and passing."
Cheever knows a little bit about that kind of competition after racing at the historic two-mile oval nine times in open-wheel events and the stock cars of IROC since 1990.
"The sheer speed of this place takes time to learn," he said. "And you have to anticipate, not react. If you are reacting, then it's already too late."
His crowning MIS moment was besting eight NASCAR Winston Cup drivers -- the kings of oval racing -- to win the IROC event in June 2000 at MIS.
Cheever's best MIS finish in an open-wheeler came in his first appearance here in August 1990. Prior to that, he had made a name for himself on the Formula One road courses in Europe.
In 1998, Cheever also became the first owner-driver to win the Indianapolis 500 in 22 years. But despite all these changes and successes, he admits his favorite racing memory goes back to his earliest racing days.
"My proudest racing moment was the first go-kart race I won," he said. "I was racing against Elio Deanglis. I was 13 years old. At the time, we never knew we would be going on to compete against each other in F-1. It was a great win, and I really enjoyed ribbing him afterward."