IRL: Homestead Eddie Cheever makes steady progress in Friday practice

<pre> Eddie Cheever Jr. - ...

<pre> Eddie Cheever Jr. - #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Indy Racing Northern Light Series - Round 2 of 13 Homestead-Miami Speedway - April 6-8, 2001 Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami - Friday Practice Notes and Quotes

Practice 1:         16th         190.478 mph         28.3498 seconds
Practice 2:         8th          193.866 mph         27.8543 seconds
Overall:            12th         193.866 mph         27.8543 seconds

</pre> Homestead, FL - #51 Excite@Home driver Eddie Cheever Jr. made steady progress during the first day of practice for the second round of the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship, the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami.

Cheever, who captured the first Indy Racing victory for Infiniti Motorsports last season at Pikes Peak, posted a fast lap of 27.8543 seconds (193.866 mph) in his Excite@Home Infiniti entry.

Eddie Cheever Jr. (on Friday practice): "Our intention was to run both Excite@Home cars - with two very different set-ups - in the first session, but because of the rain this morning and the reduced track time, we were only able to run one car. We just tried to make the best use of the 35 minutes that we had. We made some improvements to the #51 Excite@Home Infiniti for the second session and the car was a lot easier to drive. We picked up a lot of mechanical grip. The ambient temperature and the wind are totally different now than they were when we tested here a few weeks ago, so we had to go away from the set-ups we were working on then."

On the Indy Racing season to date: "Since the new Infiniti engine arrived just before Phoenix, the #51 Excite@Home team didn't have a chance to get in as much pre-season testing as we would have liked. As a result, we're changing our game plan. We are a lot more aggressive on how we are going to approach the races now. We're back to 19th in the points, which is really bad for us because if you fall out of the top-20, you're almost relegated to the wrong side of the tracks. You're not in the right part of town. We need to turn our season around and turn it around quickly.

"We're going to do as many miles as we can to catch up on our testing, and all of the Infiniti engineers are working day and night to get us what we need. I think we'll see a big jump forward with the 35A compared to what we had just three weeks ago in Phoenix."

On the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami: "This is a really important weekend for us because we are very aware of the fact that Infiniti races in the Indy Racing League because the company wants to demonstrate the performance aspect of its new cars. The new 2002 Infiniti Q45 is coming out, and it is definitely one of the best performing cars out there. It has a lot of horsepower - 340hp - and there is obviously a correlation between our Excite@Home Infiniti-powered racecar and this new performance luxury sedan.

"We're racing here at the Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami, and there's a lot of involvement and excitement, particularly from the dealers in this area. We want them to be proud of the fact that we are right up there at the front of the grid."

- Cheever Indy Racing

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever