IRL: St. Pete: Cheever Racing race report

Cheever Just Misses His Second Consecutive Top-10 Finish With Stronger and Steadier Run at Grand Prix of St. Petersburg ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sunday, April 2, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., the 1998 Indy 500 champion who prior to last Sunday at ...

Cheever Just Misses His Second Consecutive Top-10 Finish With Stronger and Steadier Run at Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Sunday, April 2, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., the 1998 Indy 500 champion who prior to last Sunday at Homestead hadn't raced an Indy car since the 2002 season, almost secured his second top-10 in as many weekends with today's 11th-place run at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Cheever and the #51 Cheever Racing Honda-Dallara started today's 100-lap IRL IndyCar Series event around the 1.8-mile bayside temporary street course from the 17th position. He was up to 14th just prior to his first stop for fuel and tires and a front wing adjustment under green on Lap 32. A problem with the fueling rig necessitated a second green-flag stop his next time around the track, costing him just one position but dropping him off the lead lap.

He was up to 13th when he pitted for a second load of fuel and tires under yellow on Lap 57 and resumed in 14th. The fourth and final stop came under green on Lap 72 he came in 12th and resumed in 13th. From there, Cheever picked up two spots before the checkered flag.

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.

EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.

"I'm proud of our team. It is so much stronger than it was when we left for Homestead 10 days ago. I know you can't see it on the surface, but that's the case. It's all the little things that are gelling. Our preparation has been getting better and better every day. Our pit stops were great today, except for the malfunction we had with the fueling rig. Like I've been saying all along, this is all about the Indy 500, and after a day like today, I am so glad that we are racing now and not just showing up at the Speedway. That would have been a stupid thing to do. It hasn't necessarily been pretty. Every practice session we've had here and at Homestead has been under public scrutiny. We went there without ever having any full-tank testing. The race itself last week was a little embarrassing, but we came away with a 10th-place finish and that is very respectable under the circumstances. Today, we had a good car in traffic. We were turning good lap times when we were around the leaders. Today was actually a lot of fun. I feel so good now, I think I could go another 100 laps if I had to."

-cr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever