IRL: Michigan: Cheever Racing race report

Red Bull Cheever Racing gets ready for New Gen IV Chevy -Rice finishes 11th at Michigan- Brooklyn, Mich. (July 27, 2003) -- The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew was all smiles Sunday morning, a strange reaction from a team whose car was starting...

Red Bull Cheever Racing gets ready for New Gen IV Chevy
-Rice finishes 11th at Michigan-

Brooklyn, Mich. (July 27, 2003) -- The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew was all smiles Sunday morning, a strange reaction from a team whose car was starting 18th in the Firestone Indy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

That's because they'd just received two of the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 engines from Pennzoil Panther Racing.

"This is an exciting time for this team," said Buddy Rice, who finished 11th Sunday in the team's last run with the previous generation of the Chevrolet engine. "Everyone here is enthused about the near future. We can't wait to get to Gateway."

As the second-best Chevy team in the point standings, Red Bull Cheever Racing will run the new Chevy engine in the next IRL IndyCar Series race Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. The first team to use the engine, Panther Racing and its driver, Sam Hornish Jr., finished second after leading 126 of 200 laps Sunday.

"Buddy's rookie status is now over with today being his one year anniversary with the team," said Eddie Cheever Jr., owner of Red Bull Cheever Racing. "He drove better today on the mile-and-a-half oval than I have ever seen him drive. We are all stepping up and getting ready for St. Louis."

Red Bull Cheever Racing will spend the next few days installing and testing the engines, which Hornish used in qualifying and practice at Michigan. The team will install the new engines Monday and Tuesday, then test them Wednesday and Thursday at Gateway.

"We have to start accumulating data rather quickly," said Eddie Cheever Jr., owner of Red Bull Cheever Racing. "Racing an engine on a superspeedway is a lot easier than to take a new engine to a place like St. Louis with a lot of on and off throttle. The car setup and mechanics of the engine are crucial."

It's more than just an engine installation, too. The crew must install new plumbing -- a new fuel system, oil system and cooling system -- and new electronics, an exhaust system and wiring. The crew members do so knowing that the new engine should be about five miles per hour faster than the old one.

"We've struggled a lot this year, as has everyone with Chevy," said team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. said. "We're still convinced - probably more so now than ever - that we're with the right company. What they managed to do in the middle of the season is very unique. What we saw today in Michigan with the Gen IV Chevy was an exceptional accomplishment."

Suddenly, a team that is 12th in IRL IndyCar Series points has a chance to win in the final six races of the season.

"Everybody forgets that GM is one of America's largest companies and the world's largest auto manufacturer," Cheever said. "When they wrap their arms around something, you expect it to happen. I never expected it to happen at the pace it did. It was a very gutsy move."

A move that made a new team of Red Bull Cheever Racing.

"Everybody here is smiling again," Rice said. "It's good to see happy faces around here."

-cr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Buddy Rice , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing