IRL: California: Cheever Racing qualifying report

Cheever earns first pole for Red Bull Cheever Racing and Infiniti Owner and driver Eddie Cheever Jr. earned his first IRL career pole position today at California Speedway with a 221.422 mph lap. It is the landmark first pole for the Infiniti...

Cheever earns first pole for Red Bull Cheever Racing and Infiniti

Owner and driver Eddie Cheever Jr. earned his first IRL career pole position today at California Speedway with a 221.422 mph lap. It is the landmark first pole for the Infiniti Indy engine and the Red Bull Cheever Racing team.

Rookie Tomas Scheckter will make his third consecutive Indy Racing top-five start in the Yamaha Indy 400 after turning the third fastest lap in qualifying at 219.661 mph.

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Winning His First Pole Position in 58 IRL starts:
"A large percentage of the time we did today can be attributed to the Nissan Infiniti engine. They have worked very hard. It's a big challenge to take on a company like General Motors. I think they have done a great job. Our mechanics have been flat out the past few months repairing cars so this is a big gift for the Red Bull Cheever Racing team. They were all working until 1 p.m. last night and looked beat when I went out to qualify, but afterwards they all looked like they drank about five cans of Red Bull. I am proud of what they have done."

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Yamaha Indy 400 Race:
"This is a very long race. It is a precursor to the Indianapolis 500. Reliability is important, as well as pit stops and understanding who you can draft with. I don't really see any reason to go more than two or three abreast, but there is room to go four abreast. In my race I am going to try to stay as low as I can and do everything I can to avoid accidents."

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Tomas:
"I actually thought Tomas was going to go out and get the pole. He has pushed this team a lot in the past two months. Our speed today can be attributed to many things, one of which is because we have a second driver like Tomas. He is so talented and has such a good understanding of what it takes to be a good race car driver. I think the improvement he made in Phoenix was phenomenal. We have only seen the beginning of this kid. He has the ability to understand cars that I haven't seen in a long time. If what happened in Homestead happens again, I hope it is when he is going for the lead in the last two laps of the Indy 500."

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Infiniti Indy 35A Engine:
"Southern California is the headquarters of Nissan North America and they have battled long and hard to try to beat General Motors. It is a great day for Infiniti. We have totally redone the Infiniti engine this winter, trying to improve performance and reliability. Really this is the first big test where you will spend two hours on full throttle. Actually, this race will be harder on the engines than Indianapolis because at Indy there are times you breath and take your foot off the throttle. Tomorrow is an engine and aerodynamics day, and a lot of questions will be answered."

Tomas Scheckter on Qualifying Third:
"I want to be on pole and that's what drives me is to win and to be in the front. I am very glad for Eddie; he has done a great job. Unfortunately this morning again, there was a problem with my #52 car and I had to jump to the T car. I just have to say thank you to the guys, they did a great job in managing to get the car off. The team has to be happy with both cars in the top three but as a driver you always want to be in front."

Tomas Scheckter on Yamaha Indy 400 Race:
"Qualifying is irrelevant especially when you have to do 400 miles. It's a long, long race and I think I am just going to take it easy, get into a good position and a good rhythm and hopefully attack in the last 50 laps."

The Yamaha Indy 400 starts at 12:30 (PST) March 24. The race will be televised live on ESPN and by the Indy Racing Radio Network. Live timing and scoring of all on-track activity can be found on www.indyracing.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever