INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 22, 2003 -- Red Bull Cheever Racing and driver Buddy Rice won the 27th annual Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge on Miller Lite Carb Day May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis 500 rookie Rice and Red...
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 22, 2003 -- Red Bull Cheever Racing and driver Buddy Rice won the 27th annual Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge on Miller Lite Carb Day May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Indianapolis 500 rookie Rice and Red Bull Cheever Racing defeated defending contest and race winners Marlboro Team Penske and Helio Castroneves in the final. Red Bull Cheever Racing changed four tires and completed a simulated fueling of the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone driven by Rice in 8.8401 seconds. Marlboro Team Penske finished similar service for Castroneves and the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone in 9.1341 seconds.
The team earned $30,000 of an $80,000 purse for the victory.
"We worked really hard to get in here today," Rice said. "It is the third time (for the team) in this competition. This is really good for these guys, for Cheever Racing, and a good way to roll into Sunday. I am not getting anything (none of the $30,000 prize). It is all going to the crew. They worked hard for this. I really didn't do anything. It is all on them right now."
This is the first Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge championship for Red Bull Cheever Racing. The team finished second in 1997 with team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. as the driver. Cheever also finished second as a driver in 1992 with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
The last time a rookie driver won the Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge was in 1997 when Kenny Brack won with Galles Racing Int'l.
"This is great," Cheever said. "This is going to last until the start of the race. But this is a great day for us. The mechanics have worked very hard, Buddy did a great job, and we win. We probably have the best mechanics in the pit, that's for sure, so we are very ready when the new Chevy power plants come in. We're going to be at the front."
Red Bull Cheever Racing defeated Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and driver Robbie Buhl in the first round and then defeated Andretti Green Racing and Michael Andretti in the second round after Andretti had to forfeit due to a throttle problem.
In the semifinals, Rice defeated Kelley Racing and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr.
Red Bull Cheever Racing became the 12th different team to win the Checkers/Rally's Pit Stop Challenge. Buddy Rice became the 18th different driver.
A limited number of reserved-seat Race Day tickets for the Indianapolis 500 remain available. General admission and reserved tickets for practice, qualifications and Race Day can be purchased on the World Wide Web via www.imstix.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700.