IRL: Homestead: Cheever Racing Friday report

Cheever Back Behind the Wheel in IRL IndyCar Series; Opens Practice for Season's First Race at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Friday, March 24, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., returned to the cockpit of an IRL IndyCar Series race car for the first time ...

Cheever Back Behind the Wheel in IRL IndyCar Series; Opens Practice for Season's First Race at Homestead

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Friday, March 24, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., returned to the cockpit of an IRL IndyCar Series race car for the first time since 2002 today with the opening of practice for Sunday's season-opening Indy 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway.

Cheever, the 1998 Indy 500 champion and the league's first owner/driver dating back to its inaugural season in 1997, got behind the wheel of the #51 Cheever Racing Honda-powered Dallara and posted top-12 laps in both of today's IndyCar practice sessions. His best lap of the 1.5-mile Homestead Miami Speedway oval this morning was clocked at 25.1524 seconds (an average of 212.544 mph). His 37 total laps in that first session was more than any other competitor but one. In the afternoon session, Cheever's best lap came in at 25.1459 seconds (212.599 mph) during 53 total laps of work.

Practice resumes Saturday morning with qualifying set for 2:45 p.m. EST. Race time Sunday is 3:45 p.m. EST with live ABC-TV coverage set to begin at 3:30 p.m. EST.

EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.
"It was a good first day, all in all, after spending a day in the car for the first time in a few years. The most difficult thing to get used to was the traffic. It takes a tremendous amount of focus, and faith, to go into the corners here with other drivers and feeling confident everyone is going to do the right thing. The car ran well, no mechanical problems. I'm very happy, really. I enjoyed the day very much. I would have liked to have been in the top 10, but we were close as it was. Our job will be to keep working to make the car as comfortable as possible, balance-wise, in traffic. It's great to have Honda power. I'm sure the people who have had it all along are not feeling so good about having to share it. And those of us who haven't had it are very happy to have it, now. We definitely fall in the latter category. Overall, we're pleased, but we have some work to do."

-cr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever