IRL: St. Pete: Cheever Racing qualifying report

Cheever Set for Temporary Road Course Run at St. Petersburg After Earning Ninth-Row Qualifying Spot for Honda Grand Prix ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Saturday, April 1, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., and the ...

Cheever Set for Temporary Road Course Run at St. Petersburg After Earning Ninth-Row Qualifying Spot for Honda Grand Prix

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Saturday, April 1, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., and the #51 Cheever Racing Honda-Dallara will start Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg IRL IndyCar Series race from the inside of the ninth row after qualifying today on the 1.8-mile temporary bayside street circuit here.

Cheever, the 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion who this weekend is making only his second IndyCar start since the 2002 season, was clocked at 1 minute, 5.5475 seconds (an average of 98.860 mph) on his one allotted hot lap during this afternoon's single-car qualifying session, good for 17th best overall.

This morning, with significantly cooler track temperatures, Cheever opened the day with a fast practice lap of 1:04.2403 (100.871 mph) during 16 laps of work.

Last weekend, Cheever, the series' first owner-driver dating back to its inception in 1997, brought home a 10th-place finish on the Homestead Miami Speedway 1.5-mile oval.

Thirty minutes of final practice is set to begin at 10:15 a.m. EDT Sunday, with race time set for 3:45 p.m. EDT. Live TV coverage on the ESPN cable network begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.

"That wasn't the fast lap we wanted to run, but we will take it. I don't believe we had quite enough temperature in the tires. This one-lap qualifying format is a bit tough, especially for me, since I haven't done this in a while. It's hot and the track is slippery, much like it will be tomorrow, but it'll change once we get a lot of cars out there running lap after lap together. I hope we have a good race car. We've been running hard all weekend but it's a big game of catch-up since we have not been able to do a lick of testing since we got this program off the ground all of about 27 days ago. We'll have the same goal that we had last week at Homestead, and that is to run as many laps as we can and finish the race. This is all one, big test session for Indy. We just need to stay the course, and I believe we are."

-cr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever