Cheever Finishes 8th at Talladega Talladega, Alabama - In front of over 90,000 NASCAR fans, Eddie Cheever, Jr. brought his lime green ...
Cheever Finishes 8th at Talladega
Talladega, Alabama - In front of over 90,000 NASCAR fans, Eddie Cheever, Jr. brought his lime green #11 IROC race car to an eighth place finish today at Talladega Super Speedway. It was Cheever's first experience at the historic 2.66-mile high banked Alabama oval, where he started Round II of the International Race Of Champions 4-race invitational, from the outside pole position.
"I really wanted a clean finish for this race, so I'm satisfied," said an enthusiastic Cheever. "This truly is a race of Champions and everyone put on a great show today. Running four abreast and dicing it out in the tri-oval at 183mph is something else! I think the fans had the best time of all!" Experience of the draft quickly became the equalizer between the competitors as, ironically, veteran Dale Earnhardt, who started the race from last place, within just a few short laps, took over Cheever's second place position leaving Cheever to bring up the rear.
"I've spent 25 years looking for clean air," said Cheever, describing the draft. "You come to a race like this and you must unlearn everything and do exactly opposite of your open wheel training. You have to use the air to your advantage every second or you're down as much as six or seven places only to fight your way back up."
Fickle as the draft can be, by the end of lap 7, Cheever was back in the front pack running fourth. The remaining 31 of the 38-lap race showed just how equal and well-prepared the IROC cars are, as driver after driver took his turn venturing into the lead pack. In the end, after spending numerous laps just a hair's length from Rusty Wallace's trunk, Dale Earnhardt captured his second 1999 IROC win, easing by Wallace with 50 yards to go.
"In the beginning, I felt as if I could keep the car tucked in the draft," said Cheever of the 101-mile fight. "Then, about the half way point, even in line and at full throttle, I seemed to go backwards."
Eddie Cheever, Jr., a twenty-five year racing veteran and 1998 Indy 500 Champion, is currently ranked third in the 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League (IRL) Drivers Standing. His #51 Team Cheever/The Children's Beverage Group race team, who won the first race of the season at Walt Disney World Speedway, is ranked second in the overall 1999 Standings. Cheever now begins final preparation for the next stop on the 11-race Pep Boys IRL series scheduled for next Saturday evening, May 1st, at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.
"The draft is not as vital in open wheel oval racing as it is here. But speed is crucial," summarized Cheever. "Next Saturday, in Charlotte, we'll be averaging almost 225 mph, and though still inches from one another, there better be no draft-tapping on that oval!"
Round Three of the True Value International Race of Champions will air on Friday, June 11th at Michigan Speedway. The race will air on Saturday, June 12th on ESPN at 3pm ET. Additional information can be found on IROC's website address at www.irocracing.com or at Team Cheever's website at www.teamcheever.com.
Primary sponsorship of Team Cheever comes from The Children's Beverage Group. The Children's Beverage Group (TCBG) is the designer of the RIP-IT SIP-IT(tm) straw-in-the-pouch drinking system that began distribution nationwide in 1997. For more information, call TCBG's corporate headquarters at 847-562-4040 or visit their website at www.tcbginc.com. Associate sponsors of Team Cheever include Rachel's Gourmet Potato Chips, Goodyear, Menards, STP, TruGreen*Chemlawn, Bosch, Pennzoil and Invincible Sportswear.