IRL: Cheever Racing pre-season notes

Lean and mean is the strategy for Red Bull Cheever Racing this season. INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 31, 2003) - For 2003 Red Bull Cheever Racing has redefined itself as a lean - and mean - racing team with one goal in mind: winning. "We had too...

Lean and mean is the strategy for Red Bull Cheever Racing this season.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 31, 2003) - For 2003 Red Bull Cheever Racing has redefined itself as a lean - and mean - racing team with one goal in mind: winning.

"We had too many near victories last season," IRL IndyCar Series team owner and driver Eddie Cheever Jr. said. "It may have been a great show for the fans, but it was unacceptable for us as a company. This season we have gone back to our roots of being a technically-driven company, and operating more efficiently towards reaching our goals. We have taken the best of what we have and structured the team around that."

The "best" means signing Phoenix-native Buddy Rice to a full-season ride, hiring NASCAR veteran Max Jones as managing director, forming Menard Cheever Technologies (MCT) with John Menard, and technology partnerships with Dallara and Chevrolet.

For Cheever personally it means stepping down as an IRL IndyCar Series regular and concentrating on the Indianapolis 500.

"Buddy is now the leader of this team," Cheever said. "We decided that if we want to achieve the results we are looking for we need to put all our efforts into his program. As I am spending more and more time on the business side of things, I see the need for a young and dedicated driver for our team and Buddy fits that mold. Still, I am very much looking forward to having a shot at winning my second Indy 500."

In his new role as lead driver for Red Bull Cheever Racing, 27-year-old Phoenix native Buddy Rice is looking forward to the 2003 IndyCar Series Championship.

"This is exactly where I want to be," Rice said. "As an American driver moving through the ladder system, it has been a roller-coaster ride. This is everything I have been waiting for. What makes it even better is that Red Bull, which has been with me since 1997, is a major partner in the Cheever Racing team so I really feel at home here. We all have that Red Bull mojo."

Red Bull Cheever Racing will participate in the eighth annual IRL Test in the West Feb. 3-8 at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.

Red Bull Cheever Racing, based in Indianapolis, is the brainchild of 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. A leader in American motorsports, the IRL IndyCar Series team is built on Cheever's experience in Formula One, sports cars and open-wheel oval racing. Corporate and technical partnerships include the world's leading energy drink Red Bull, Menards, Chevrolet, Dallara, Firestone and Menard Cheever Technologies. For more information visit www.cheeverracing.com.

Test in the West Driver Quotes:

Buddy Rice: "I am anxious to get in the car at California and Phoenix for the Test in the West. We saw a little bit of what the other teams had at Homestead, but this will be a better measure. Still we are concentrating on what we need to get done. We have a limited number of test days and a lot of work to do with our new Red Bull Dallara-Chevy package. For the first time this year Eddie will be testing with us which will help with this work load. It will be an important week for us."

Eddie Cheever Jr.: "It's been a long time since I have driven. Since the Texas race I have worked nonstop setting up two new companies and taking care of business. I am looking forward to getting out of the office and into the race car. My goals for the Test in the West are twofold. First I am there to help Buddy and the Red Bull crew get up to speed with the new Dallara-Chevrolet package. We have a new team manager, Max Jones, who is taking the bull by the horn and a new technical alliance with John Menard, MCT. All these new pieces need to be massaged into place to build the team into the force it needs to be to win races. Second, as a driver, this will be the first test in preparation for my only IndyCar Series race this year, the Indianapolis 500."

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Friday, Jan. 31 is Buddy Rice's 27th birthday. He was born at Good Samaritan hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. Raised in Phoenix, Buddy now lives less than a mile from his parents Bud and Nancy.

Max Jones Settles in as Managing Director

Starting with Red Bull Cheever Racing in mid-December as managing director, Max Jones is settling into his new position with the team. Jones said: "The team has gone through a lot of changes this off-season, and I hope I am making things easier. The IndyCar Series cars are exciting and high-tech. With that said, it is still racing. The same fundamentals apply."

Menard Cheever Technologies in Full Force at Test in the West

Led by veteran F1 technical director Bernard Dudot, Menard Cheever Technologies (MCT) will be in full force at the Test in the West. The MCT crew will provide engineering and development strategies for both Red Bull Cheever Racing and Team Menard.

Team on Steep Learning Curve with '03 Dallara and new Chevrolet Engine

The IRL's Test in the West will be an opportunity for the team to gather data for the 2003 Dallara chassis, and more importantly the new Chevy Indy V8 powerplant. Visiting two extremes of the IRL circuit, the fast, high-banked two-mile oval at California Speedway and the tight, one-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway, will give the team a good benchmark for the season.

"We head to the Test in the West after several days with the MCT engineers at the wind tunnel and the seven-poster rig," Max Jones said. "Also, Menard Engines has made several engine improvements since our Homestead test. We are anxious to see what we learned applied to track conditions at California and Phoenix."

-cr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Buddy Rice , Max Jones