IRL: Cheever to race Indianapolis 500 in 2006

1998 WINNER CHEEVER TO COMPETE IN 90TH INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006 -- Eddie Cheever Jr. always has said he might return to the driver's seat for the Indianapolis 500 if the right opportunity presented itself. That ...

1998 WINNER CHEEVER TO COMPETE IN 90TH INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006 -- Eddie Cheever Jr. always has said he might return to the driver's seat for the Indianapolis 500 if the right opportunity presented itself.

That opportunity has arrived.

1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Cheever announced Feb. 21 that he will drive in the 90th edition of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 28 in the No. 51 Cheever Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. It will be his first Indianapolis 500 start since finishing fifth in 2002 and his first IndyCar® Series start since the season finale in September 2002 at Texas. Since then, Cheever has concentrated on his ownership role of Cheever Racing.

"This shouldn't be a surprise, because I've never stopped driving," said Cheever, who also will drive in the first three IndyCar Series races of the season leading into Indianapolis. "I simply took a different role in out IRL operations the last few years."

Cheever, a Phoenix native, returned to the cockpit last November for the Grand Prix Masters event in South Africa and also drove for his Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series team last month in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team finished 17th overall at Daytona but was running in the top five, including leading at the 10-hour mark, until a mechanical failure occurred just two hours from the end of the 24-hour race.

"After our team's strong showing with the Crown Royal car at Daytona, I was excited about the prospect of driving again at Indy," Cheever said. "With Honda as the IRL's sole engine supplier creating parity in the IndyCar Series, it only made more sense to continue our team's legacy of Indianapolis 500 competition."

Cheever has recorded six top-10 finishes in 13 Indianapolis 500 starts since 1990, when he was named JPMorgan Chase Rookie of the Year after finishing eighth. He won in 1998 after starting 17th.

His best start was second in 1992, when he led nine laps and finished fourth.

Cheever, 48, made 132 Formula One starts between 1978-89 -- more than any other American -- before moving to Indy-style competition in 1990.

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Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, the historic 90th running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

All fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday, while online orders can be made at any time. Ticket prices start at just $20.

-ims-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever