F1RSTPLUS TEAM CHEEVER NEWS Indy Update: April 10, 1997 For More Information, Contact: Wade Gates (972) 830-2661 F1RSTPLUS TEAM CHEEVER ENTERS TWO DRIVERS IN 1997 INDY 500 IRL's First Owner/Driver Becomes The First Owner/Driver to...
F1RSTPLUS TEAM CHEEVER NEWS
Indy Update: April 10, 1997
For More Information, Contact: Wade Gates (972) 830-2661
F1RSTPLUS TEAM CHEEVER ENTERS TWO DRIVERS IN 1997 INDY 500
IRL's First Owner/Driver Becomes The First Owner/Driver to Field Second Team
Jeff Ward Joins F1RSTPLUS Team for Indy Run
INDIANAPOLIS: F1RSTPLUS Team Cheever announced today that the team will enter two drivers in the 81st Annual Indianapolis 500. Long-time motocross and Indy Lights racer Jeff Ward will join owner/driver Eddie Cheever in a run for the Borg- Warner trophy and the $1 million-plus paycheck.
Cheever, winner of the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway earlier this year, was the first true owner/driver in the new Indy Racing League and is the first owner/driver to field a second crew.
"The addition of the second entry is an important milestone for the F1RSTPLUS team," Cheever said. "First, it was the partnership with F1RSTPLUS Financial. Then, it was the win in Orlando and the new-found confidence it gave the team. Now, the second team gives us tremendous synergy in building two competitive entries for the greatest racing spectacular in history the Indianapolis 500."
F1RSTPLUS Financial, Inc., a specialized consumer finance company, is sponsor of the team's G Force/Aurora/Goodyear packages and will benefit tremendously from the world-wide media exposure devoted to the "500" during the month of May. Additional sponsorships will be announced soon, Cheever said.
Ward will start his second IRL race in the team's entry. Ward raced for 13 years in professional motocross, becoming the first rider in history to win every major AMA national motocross title. He retired from motocross in 1992 with 74 major victories, then began racing Indy Lights.
"I've always been competitive, and wanted to win," Ward said. "But motocross is very punishing and demanding physically. Thirteen years was enough abuse. That's why I started moving toward auto racing in the early 90s."
In the last of his three years of Indy Lights competition, Ward won two pole positions and finished as high as third. He ranked 11th in points for the 1996 season. He made his IRL debut this year at Orlando, substituting for the injured Davy Jones in the Galles entry. Ward qualified eighth and ran as high as fifth, before being forced out with gearbox problems.
"We're very excited to have Jeff on the F1RSTPLUS team," Team Manager Dick Caron said. "But, we had a very difficult decision to make in selecting our second driver. We looked very hard at a half dozen drivers, all of whom have the experience and capabilities to drive in the IRL. Ultimately, it came down to Jeff's exceptional performance at Orlando under very difficult circumstances."
Ward will begin work with his new team at F1RSTPLUS Team Cheever's headquarters in Indianapolis. He continues a rigorous workout schedule he began during his motocross days, including a daily regimen of weight lifting, running and mountain biking.
"Joining the F1RSTPLUS team is a great opportunity," Ward said. "It's one of the top teams in racing, and has proven it can win. It will be a privilege for me to join the F1RSTPLUS crew and help them win the Indy 500."
F1RSTPLUS Team Cheever's Indy Entries:
Driver Car No. Car/Engine/Tire Eddie Cheever #51 G Force/Aurora/Goodyear Jeff Ward #52 G Force/Aurora/Goodyear # # #