IRL: Michigan: Cheever Racing Friday notes

Red Bull Cheever Racing sweeps top three in practice at Michigan. Red Bull Cheever Racing dominated the first day of practice for the Michigan Indy 400 by sweeping the top three positions of the speed charts. The three Red Bull Infiniti drivers...

Red Bull Cheever Racing sweeps top three in practice at Michigan.

Red Bull Cheever Racing dominated the first day of practice for the Michigan Indy 400 by sweeping the top three positions of the speed charts. The three Red Bull Infiniti drivers were the only drivers to break the 221 mph barrier in practice today.

In his IRL debut, Buddy Rice led the team by turning the fastest lap of the day at 221.833 mph in the No. 53 car. In the No. 52 car Tomas Scheckter was second fastest overall with a 221.292 mph lap, followed closely by Eddie Cheever Jr. at 221.233 mph in the No. 51 car.

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Practice:
"We ran three cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so we thought it would be a good opportunity to do that here also. Both Tomas and Buddy did a good job today. They beat the old man again, so I think the future of our team is in very good hands. We are on pace for where we want to be. We have had a difficult year and we will continue to make whatever changes we think are necessary to right the ship. We have the right equipment, the right drivers and the right mechanics. We just have to make it all work properly on race day."

Buddy Rice on Practice:
"I got a call from Red Bull Cheever Racing on Sunday to test at Kentucky. From there, they asked me to race here at Michigan. I am here on a day-to-day basis right now. We have to see what happens. The team is really giving me a good car right now, which makes things easier for me. I am just trying to get comfortable running in traffic. I need to get my pit stops worked out and coming into the pit box properly. That's my main focus right now, and it seems to be working okay so far. The biggest difference with the IRL cars are the closing speeds, and the speed coming out of the pits. For the most part everything on the car is similar to any other open-wheel car I have driven. Again, I just need to work on running in traffic and in a group so I am comfortable for the race."

Tomas Scheckter on Practice:
"This weekend I've got another crew. They are doing a good job on the car. We have to get to know each other and learn the way we work. We have to get our pit stops right. The cars here are fairly easy to drive on full tanks and low tanks. You are going to see people gaining in the pits and on the out and in laps. I don't think there will be a lot of yellow flags. The driver that is going to win the race is the one who is the best in traffic and the race."

Flashback: Cheever's History at Michigan
Eddie Cheever Jr.'s highlight at Michigan International Speedway was his 2000 International Race of Champions (IROC) victory. He also raced in the 1999 and 2001 IROC races finishing 12th and fourth, respectively. He raced in the CART races at Michigan in 1990, '91, '92, '94, and '95 with a best finish of fourth in 1990.

"Michigan is a great race track. Our race here is an important part of the growing strength of the Indy Racing League in the Midwest. The inaugural IRL race at Michigan International Speedway will be better than our race in California, which was exceptional. We are further along in the season and more teams are prepared to run the full 400-mile distance, meaning more cars battling for the victory."

"The last time I jumped out of a car at Michigan, was through the window of an IROC car in winner's circle. I remember a pause from the crowd initially. I think they were shocked to see someone other than a NASCAR driver in winner's circle, but they warmed up quickly."

"The philosophy of the CART series is a lot different than the IRL; our cars are not setup so that the leader is a sitting duck. The fans in Michigan will see a lot of two and three-abreast racing and passing in the IRL race this weekend."

Race Information
The Michigan Indy 400 starts at 3:00 p.m. (EDT) Sunday, July 28. The race will be televised live on ABC and by the Indy Racing Radio Network. Practice and qualifying takes place on July 27. Live timing and scoring of all on-track activity can be found on www.indyracing.com.

Red Bull Cheever Racing, based in Indianapolis, is the brainchild of 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. A leader in American motorsports, the Indy Racing League team is built on Cheever's experience in Formula One, sports cars and open-wheel oval racing. Corporate and technical partnerships with the world's leading energy drink Red Bull, Nissan North America's Infiniti Division, TWR Group, and Lincoln Financial Group greatly enhance the team's resources and technology. For more information, visit www.cheeverindyracing.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Rice