Fort Worth, Texas - Eddie Cheever Jr. and the ...
Fort Worth, Texas - Eddie Cheever Jr. and the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Team head to the Lone Star state this weekend for the first night race of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series, the Casino Magic 500 on June 10, but the 7:00pm event on Saturday will actually be the second part of a double-header that day. Cheever will also compete in the third True Value International Race of Champions of the 2000 season at 12:00pm at Michigan Speedway.
"It's going to be a busy weekend," admits Cheever, the 1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion. "I'll leave Texas right after the final practice on Friday night, race in the IROC event in Michigan at noon on Saturday, and be back in the Lone Star state for the Casino Magic 500 that night. It will be an action-packed twenty-four hours, but after the month of May at Indy, it shouldn't be a problem.
Racing the identically-prepared IROC Pontiac Firebirds is a labor of love for Cheever, an IROC series sophomore and a veteran of Formula One and Indy Racing competition. "I joke that IROC is my 'bi-monthly butt-kicking', but the racing is a lot of fun. I enjoy it immensely," notes Cheever. "Every race is a learning experience and I really enjoy rubbing fenders with the stock car guys. It's not something you want to try in an Indy car, that's for sure. I have found my way to the front in the last two races - now I have to figure out how to stay there."
Following the IROC event, Cheever's focus will revert to the Casino Magic 500 and his campaign for the 2000 Indy Racing title. "It's important that the #51 Excite@Home team does well at Texas and gets into the top three in points," explains Cheever. "We're only eight points out of second place. It's essential that we execute flawlessly if we are to make a serious challenge for Buddy Lazier and the top spot in the championship. The Texas Motor Speedway track is incredibly competitive and demanding, and drafting and pit strategy play a major role in success here."
"The fans in Texas are very enthusiastic, and we always have a great turnout for the race," continues Cheever, who finished fifth at last month's Indianapolis 500. "There's a strong open-wheel heritage in Texas, with several Indy Racing legends - like Rutherford and Foyt - being from here. It's our goal to be celebrating with the Texans in victory circle on Saturday night."