IRL: Cheever Racing wins Indy Pit Stop Challenge

IRL: Cheever Racing wins Indy Pit Stop Challenge

Indianapolis, May 22, 2003 - Red Bull Cheever Racing won today's Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge competition. Along the way, they defeated Dreyer & Reinbold, Kelley Racing, and - in the final round - Penske Racing. With Buddy Rice at the...

Indianapolis, May 22, 2003 - Red Bull Cheever Racing won today's Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge competition. Along the way, they defeated Dreyer & Reinbold, Kelley Racing, and - in the final round - Penske Racing. With Buddy Rice at the wheel, the team completed each round with quicker and quicker times, defeating Helio Castroneves' crew 8.84 seconds to 9.13 seconds. The team's final round time was the second fastest overall within the competition, bested only by Team Penske's 8.70 seconds when they beat Team Rahal in the second round.

Pitstop competition: winners Buddy Rice and Cheever Racing crew.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.
A share of the credit for the victory went to driver Rice, who performed NHRA-like starts off the line and out of the pit box. Coupled with flawless performance by the pit crew, the team has gained momentum for Sunday's Indianapolis 500. In four prior years, the pit stop champions have gone on to win the race. Two of those double victories were by Team Penske, runner up today.

"Today," said team owner Eddie Cheever, "was a day that the mechanics get to show what they're capable of doing. And it was great to see my team beat the Penske team. It is something we take great pride in because it is a great accomplishment. They are a well trained team. They are a team that misses nothing

"It is all about the crew-- they did a great job."

Cheever took obvious pride in the team's victory over one of the best teams in racing, and looks for long-term momentum. "We have not backed down because we are a little behind with Chevy," he said. "But when the new Chevy engines arrive - and they will arrive - and will be competitive again - we will be ready. When we have an engine capable of beating Penske, or whoever the competition is, we will take that opportunity.

"Will we be able to beat them Sunday because we won the pit stop competition? It's definitely a point in our favor. That is one of the things you have to do to win the 500."

Red Bull Cheever Racing won $30,000 out of a total purse of $80,000. It was the team's first victory in the Challenge, and only the second time the competition has been won with a rookie driver at the wheel.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Helio Castroneves , Buddy Rice
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske