IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2006-06-06

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- June 6, 2006 Today's IRL headlines 1. Cheever responds to comments 2. Hornish, IndyCar stars bowl for charity: 3. IndyCar Series drivers promote ethanol in Dallas 1. Cheever responds to comments: (The ...


Today's IRL headlines
1. Cheever responds to comments
2. Hornish, IndyCar stars bowl for charity:
3. IndyCar Series drivers promote ethanol in Dallas

1. Cheever responds to comments: (The following is a release from Cheever Racing and is run as received by the IRL) Eddie Cheever Jr. encountered unexpected bad luck -- and unexpected adjectives -- during strange circumstances Sunday in the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International.

Run-ins with two popular drivers ended with Cheever, a veteran of 30 years of international racing experience, being called an "idiot" twice on national television and being accused of intentionally crashing 19-year-old rookie Marco Andretti.

"To think I would intentionally take anyone out is just ludicrous," Cheever said. "It's beyond words. It was a racing accident, pure and simple. There certainly wasn't any intent, so I find the accusations incomprehensible."

After the accident, Andretti said Cheever "absolutely, on purpose" crashed into him. During a live TV interview after the crash, Michael Andretti, Marco's father and team owner, called Cheever "a complete idiot."

"No single team is the center of the racing universe, no matter how much they seem to think they are," Cheever said. "Nobody took them out intentionally, so their accusations look a bit ridiculous."

The feud between Cheever and the Andretti family dates back to 1992, when Mario Andretti crashed into Cheever at Long Beach. It resumed in April, when the Andrettis verbally trashed Cheever after an incident between Marco Andretti and Cheever during practice for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

"Let there be no mistake, I would never let any feelings I might have carry over to the race course, where lives are at stake," Cheever said. "I have lost too many friends to this sport to be so shallow. It was a racing accident, pure and simple."

Andretti wasn't the only one using the I-word to describe Cheever after Sunday's race. Danica Patrick, who spun on a restart in front of Cheever, also used the epithet over the radio after she crashed.

"She did that all by herself," Cheever said.

In the end, even though the No. 51 Cheever Racing Honda/Dallara finished 17th and he found himself the center of a foolish controversy, Cheever found a comical irony in the accusations.

"The last I looked, I earned the label of Indy 500 champion; those lobbing unfounded accusations at me have not," Cheever said. "I'm not perfect, and neither are my accusers. Let's get back to racing."


2. Hornish, IndyCar stars bowl for charity: The inaugural Sam Hornish Jr. Charity Bowling Tournament raised $70,000 for Speedway Children's Charities. The newly crowned Indianapolis 500 champion will be on the AMF Showplace Lanes in Euless, Texas, on June 7 with colorful shirt and shoes for the second tournament.

"Speedway Children's Charities has been in Texas as long as we have been in Texas, and in its first nine years has given out $3.2 million to benefit youth organizations and charities in Dallas and Fort Worth," Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said. "(Owner) Bruton (Smith) started it at Charlotte when he had one speedway back in 1980, and now each speedway has a chapter. It's been very successful. Last year, Sam wanted to do the bowling tournament and it was a natural fit."

Hornish, who still occasionally bowls with family and friends, said he'd like to reach $100,000. An IndyCar Series autograph session precedes the tournament.

"Sam is a great champion and it's been great to watch him develop from PDM to Panther and now to Penske," Gossage said. "As a former winner here, we've done a lot of things with him. He's just a great guy. You'd like to live next door to him."


3. IndyCar Series drivers promote ethanol in Dallas: IndyCar Series drivers Tony Kanaan and Jeff Simmons are teaming with Texas Motor Speedway, the ethanol industry and 7-Eleven to discuss the expansion of ethanol-enriched fuel in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The drivers, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage and representatives from the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council, Texas Corn Producers, National Corn Growers Association and 7-Eleven will appear at a Dallas 7-Eleven store to promote ethanol's use in the IndyCar Series and the Bombardier Learjet 500k at Texas Motor Speedway.

In addition, they will provide the best fuel deal in the Metroplex -- $2.20 per gallon for ethanol-enriched fuel at the 7-Eleven located at 5601 Lemmon Ave. in Dallas.

Texas Motor Speedway also will give all customers free tickets for Thursday's Oak Creek Homes Qualifying Day for the IndyCar Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, 50 "I Am Indy/TMS 10 Years Strong" t-shirts and one lucky consumer will win the "Ultimate TMS VIP Race Package."


The 2006 IRL IndyCar Series continues with the Bombardier 500k at 9 p.m. (EDT) on June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be televised live by ESPN and the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPN Deportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 145 "IndyCar Racing" and The fifth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Liberty Challenge on July 1 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. ESPN2's coverage of the Corning 100 will be televised at 2 p.m. (EDT) on June 8.


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Michael Andretti , Tony Kanaan , Mario Andretti , Marco Andretti , Jeff Simmons , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick