Top-10 Finish at Homestead for '98 Indy 500 Champ Cheever In His First IRL IndyCar Series Race Since 2002 HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sunday, March 26, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., drove the ...
Top-10 Finish at Homestead for '98 Indy 500 Champ Cheever In His First IRL IndyCar Series Race Since 2002
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sunday, March 26, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., drove the #51 Cheever Racing Honda-powered Dallara to a top-10 finish in the first IRL IndyCar Series race for the 1998 Indy 500 champion since 2002 at this afternoon's Indy 300 at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Cheever, the IRL's first owner-driver dating back to the series' inception in 1997, started 12th when today's 200-lap, 300-mile race went green and first cracked the top 10 when the team opted to stay out during the day's first caution period on Lap 9. Fighting a slight loose condition as his first fuel-and-tire run wore on, Cheever pitted for the first time under green on Lap 57, dropping back to 12th place. The Cheever Racing machine then developed understeer during the next run, which the team corrected on a yellow-flag stop on Lap 108 that sent him back out on track in 10th place. Tire pressure and front wing adjustments on the day's third stop, under green on Lap 156, corrected a loose condition that returned during the third fuel-and-tire run, and Cheever reported his car was the best it had been all day during the final 31-lap sprint to the finish.
The day began on a somber note with the passing of Team Rahal driver Paul Dana in a fatal accident at the outset of this morning's final practice session.
Round 2 of the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series is set for next weekend with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.
"Considering this whole car didn't even exist 20 days ago, I think this was a great accomplishment for our team to bring home a top-10 finish. It was a rough and ugly race for us. We came here without any testing, and to expect to be competitive under those circumstances is just not realistic. These teams we race against are just too good to be able to just show up and beat them. All in all, I was starting to feel very comfortable in the car by the end of the race. When you look at it, this was our first test session of the season. In that respect, I think it was a good, solid first step."