Indianapolis, IN (May 6, 2001) - ...
Indianapolis, IN (May 6, 2001) - #51 Excite@Home driver Eddie Cheever Jr. topped the timesheets with a 220.968 mph lap for much of opening day practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and ended the day second only to defending Indy 500 polesitter Greg Ray (224.301 mph). Scott Goodyear - turning his first official practice laps with his new Cheever Indy Racing team - was immediately up to speed in his #52 Infiniti-powered Dallara with a quick lap of 40.8934 seconds (220.084 mph). When a spring thunderstorm brought practice to a premature close at 5:53pm, Cheever stood second overall, while teammate Goodyear was fourth.
Eddie Cheever Jr: #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car
Position: 2nd Speed: 220.968 mph Time: 40.7298 seconds
Cheever: "I only ran for a couple of hours early in the afternoon, but so far, so good. We're using the same Infiniti engine that we had for the test here (in mid-April) and the #51Excite@Home car is fast on the straightaway. It's not as good as we want in the corners. We tried some things on the car that didn't really work -- the back end is moving around too much -- and it was pretty windy. Of the three days we've run here this year, we haven't had one day with great conditions. Today it was windy and dusty, and everyone is still just getting settled in. You try really hard not to peak too early in the first week before you qualify, and there are a lot of things we are trying to learn. We have a good game plan and today was a very positive day for the Excite@Home team."
Scott Goodyear: #52 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti
Position: 4th Speed: 220.084 mph Time: 40.8934 seconds
Goodyear (on opening day practice): "We went a little quicker today than we did at the test here in April, and to have both Eddie and myself in the top-four on the first day is very good. I'm pleased with that. We had a couple of things when we first went out -- the back end was stepping out a bit -- but the guys corrected that in a hurry and we made a couple of other changes. Overall, I'm just delighted that both Eddie and I are in the 220s. I think we have more speed in there yet, so I'm very pleased."
On his chemistry with his Cheever Indy Racing crew: "I think it's really just a culmination of everything that we planned with having me do so much of the team's testing. Working with a group like Cheever Indy Racing has been great. I was very comfortable and found a very good home from the very first test we did in January. We gelled very quickly. It's been a delight to be able to work with guys like Eddie Cheever and Owen Snyder, and to have Dane Harte as my crew chief. It's given me a lot of confidence and made motor racing fun again. I'm enjoying it. We have a good nucleus here and a good package with Infiniti, Firestone, and Dallara, and everything is coming together at a nice pace. I think we're set to have a great month of May."
On tire performance: "I'm very pleased with the Firestone tires. We were still able to run 219s with tires that had a lot of laps on them. It was pretty warm today and the wind was up a lot, but the Firestones were very consistent, and as always the tires never seemed to be an issue. Someone blew an engine around 5:30pm and that put a lot of 'track-dry' down, but the tires gripped through all that stuff. Overall, it gives you a lot of confidence with the Firestones."