Kansas City, KS (July 6, 2001) - Eddie Cheever Jr. topped the timesheets during the first day of practice for the inaugural Indy Racing event at Kansas Speedway, posting a fast lap of 25.2197 seconds (216.973 mph) in his ...
Kansas City, KS (July 6, 2001) - Eddie Cheever Jr. topped the timesheets during the first day of practice for the inaugural Indy Racing event at Kansas Speedway, posting a fast lap of 25.2197 seconds (216.973 mph) in his #51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti. Cheever and fellow Infiniti driver Robbie Buhl (216.623 mph) were the only competitors to exceed 216mph, touring the 1.5-mile oval almost two miles per hour faster than third place runner Mark Dismore (214.935 mph).
Eddie Cheever Jr. (on Friday's practice): "We haven't run at Kansas before -- the first day we tested here was today -- so wanted to get as much data as we could from the car. It's a great circuit. It's as flat as [a] table, so you can really run the car very loose, and the looser you run it, the more difficult it is. We were just seeing how loose we could run the car. We don't think we've found the limit yet. I believe we'll see some improvement again tomorrow. This is a very tricky place. After all the accidents we've been having recently, everybody is going to have to learn how to play well with others."
On the Infiniti Indy 35A engine: "The Infiniti 35A is finally out of its adolescence and coming into its own. I don't mean to sound like an Infiniti advertisement, but I can't say enough about the versatility of this engine. We just came from a very slow track in Richmond where we ran incredibly well, and we're at a fast track here and we're running well again. We have almost two miles an hour on the competition. I know that won't hold up tomorrow, but this engine has been very competitive for the last five races, and I'm sure Robbie (Buhl) and I are getting kind of anxious because we haven't won yet."
On the number of grooves on the race track: "Right now, I think there is about a lane and a half. I tried running the high line coming out of two and I don't want to do that again. It was more excitement than I had planned for the first day of running. It's a new track so we have to put rubber down. There's no rubber up high yet, but I guarantee that knowing all of my playmates in the IRL, we'll be spending a lot of time up high and there will be two definite grooves."
On Kansas Speedway: "I like it out there. This is a world-class facility. For the longest time, we always considered Texas to be the second best track after Indy, but I think Kansas will give Texas a good run for its money. It's a very nice facility. It's very flat and smooth, and I think we'll see some side-by-side racing. I'm very impressed with the speeds that we're running. It's really fast."
On Indy Racing's debut at Kansas Speedway: "We've become pretty proficient at running Indy Racing cars on these 1.5-mile ovals, so it will be interesting to see how everybody settles into a new speedway. The Indy Racing League has a very controversial and exciting season going on, and there is a lot of high emotion in the air. Everybody in Kansas is going to get one hell of a show."