Eddie Cheever/Team Cheever ...
Eddie Cheever/Team Cheever # 51 The Children's Beverage Group Dallara/Goodyear/Infiniti Fast Facts
* With two races left in the season, no less than twelve drivers are poised for one of the Top Three positions in the Point Standings. Eddie Cheever is in a 3-way tie in seventh, just 69 points from Leader Greg Ray and 25 points from second-place, Scott Goodyear. * Team Cheever is ranked sixth in the Season Entrant Points. * Team Cheever is the only Infiniti entrant in Sunday's race. * Eddie Cheever placed fifth at last year's Vegas 500 race. * Team Cheever won this year's IRL season opener, the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway. * Eddie Cheever won the 1998 Indy 500, the first owner/driver to win the 500 since AJ Foyt in 1977. * Team Cheever's two-time Indy 500 winning Chief Mechanic is Owen Snyder III. * Team Cheever's 1998 Rookie of the Year winning Crew Chief is Dane Harte.
Eddie Cheever, Jr. Team owner/driver #51 The Children's Beverage Group/Team Cheever Dallara/Goodyear/Infiniti
On the Championship Hunt (Cheever is in a 3-way tie in 7th place, just 69 points from 1st, 25 from 2nd and 22 from 3rd) "As far as we are concerned, we are absolutely in the hunt.... The whole bunch of us are so close, it's almost ridiculous. We are completely focused on winning races... if not for the Championship, then, for a Top Three finish for the season. Mathematically, and with a little bit of luck and a lot of team work, our goals are attainable."
On the Infiniti Engine "We made the decision to partner with Infiniti earlier this year for many long term as well as short term reasons. In the short term, we want to win races for ourselves as well as our new engine partner. In the long term, we plan to be well ahead of others when the 3.5-liter era hits next year. We are currently testing pieces on the engine that should put us ahead of next year's learning curve by some of the other teams."
On the track "This is a very tough track. When you come to a place like Las Vegas, that has less banking and a slick surface, it switches everyone's focus to issues of handling. Unlike other tracks we run on, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with the sun and the sand, quickly degenerates into the kind of conditions I thrive on.... slippery and difficult."
On the race (In 1998, Cheever finished 5th after qualifying 10th) "It should be a great race. Our fields are tighter than ever; the hunt for the Championship and the Top 3 slots is unbearably close and our tire war is about to crescendo at one of the toughest tire tracks we race on. Tires are extremely important here and you can go through them quickly. Since there is less banking, the demand on the tires is much greater. It's really more of an issue of "tire fatigue" than "tire wear". Because of this, we've done a lot of testing here with Goodyear (Team Cheever's most recent test was September 7th & 8th). Our focus this weekend will be maximizing whatever grip is available in our tires and getting our race and pit strategies to the point of flawlessness."