IRL: Indy 500: Cheever Racing race report

Eddie Cheever Jr. takes fifth at Indy for Red Bull Cheever Racing and Infiniti. Eddie Cheever Jr. earned his best finish of the 2002 IRL Championship by finishing fifth in the 86th Indianapolis 500. Cheever, who started sixth, had a trouble-free...

Eddie Cheever Jr. takes fifth at Indy for Red Bull Cheever Racing and Infiniti.

Eddie Cheever Jr. earned his best finish of the 2002 IRL Championship by finishing fifth in the 86th Indianapolis 500. Cheever, who started sixth, had a trouble-free race in the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti.

Under yellow-flag conditions, Cheever took the checkered flag in fifth place, earning his fourth top-five result in 13 races at Indy, including his 1998 Indianapolis 500 victory.

Tomas Scheckter turned a lot of heads in his first race at Indianapolis taking the lead on lap 33 from his tenth-place starting position. Leading 85 laps, the 21-year-old Scheckter led more laps than any other driver and turned the fastest race lap at 226.499 mph.

With 27 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, Scheckter had a ten-second lead over second-place driver Felipe Giaffone when he crashed into the wall at turn four. He finished 26th in the final race standings with the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti.

Max Papis, who started 18th, was set back by a leak in the right-rear caliper. He brought the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti home in 23rd position.

"While we are disappointed to not have the win today, I think by tomorrow morning we will be happy to have our best finish of the season so far," said Eddie Cheever Jr. "The Red Bull Cheever Racing team, along with our technical partners at TWR Group, has worked hard for this day. And our work will pay off for us during the rest of the IRL Championship."

Eddie Cheever Jr. on Race:
"Everybody said that our engine was going to have problems, but the Nissan Infiniti engine ran impeccably. None of the seven engines in the field today had any problems. I believe that we had the best engine out there today. I am very sorry to see what happened to Tomas. He was very quick the whole day. I kept getting stuck in traffic. I don't know what it is with Al (Unser Jr.) but every time I get behind him and he is a lap down he holds me up and I lose a few places. I lost a strong third place because of that. It's getting to be tiring, after Nazareth and then here at Indy. It's unnecessary. Congratulations to Penske and (Helio) Castroneves. That might be the most confusing 500 I have ever been in."

Max Papis on Race:
"First of all I am very pleased that we finished the race. I am not happy about the results. We had a brake problem from the word go. The only thing I could do was to work my way around it. I tried to be very consistent and stay back on the straights and really get a big run on the corners. I thought the Red Bull Cheever team did an excellent job. The Nissan Infiniti engine was very strong. I was very pleased about the engine because everybody had concerns about the engine's reliability. I kept going on and got the car back on the lead lap. Then there were absolutely no brakes. I had to come back in and block one caliper off. I had a couple of scary moments because of that, especially when I was running behind Gil (de Ferran) and the yellow came out. I almost ran into the back of him. It was a hairy moment. Overall we had a top car. It was a good experience. Hopefully, next year we could put a few pieces in better position and we will be very strong. I have to say thanks to Eddie (Cheever) for making this dream come true for me. I hope that it works out that I could win this race for Cheever Racing in the future. I am not happy to just participle, I want to win."

Tomas Scheckter on Race:
"The race was good. I was leading for a long time and everything was great. The Infiniti engine did its job today. It was strong all day long. I am very disappointed about the accident. I had no control over the car. It just turned into the wall. I am not sure what happened. I'm very upset for the whole team. The race was good, but I would have preferred to be in the lead on the last lap."

Red Bull Cheever Racing, based in Indianapolis, is the brainchild of 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. A leader in American motorsports, the Indy Racing League team is built on Cheever's experience in Formula One, sports cars and open-wheel oval racing. Corporate and technical partnerships with the world's leading energy drink Red Bull, Nissan North America's Infiniti Division, TWR Group, and Lincoln Financial Group greatly enhance the team's resources and technology. For more information, visit www.cheeverindyracing.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Max Papis