IRL: Indy500: Cheever looking for second win

Indianapolis, IN (May 24, 2001) - Eddie Cheever Jr. turned his final practice laps for Sunday's Indianapolis 500 during Thursday's Coors Carburetion Day, posting a top speed of 217.847 mph. The 1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion will start 25th in...

Indianapolis, IN (May 24, 2001) - Eddie Cheever Jr. turned his final practice laps for Sunday's Indianapolis 500 during Thursday's Coors Carburetion Day, posting a top speed of 217.847 mph. The 1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion will start 25th in his #51 Excite@Home Infiniti. The 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be televised live on ABC at 12:00 noon EDT on Sunday, May 27.

Eddie Cheever Jr:  #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car

Practice: 19th
Speed: 217.847 mph
Time: 41.3134 seconds

Cheever (on Thursday's final practice): "We ran on full tanks, and the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car is okay. We made a decision on what we think the race pace is going to be, and we'll either be right or we'll be wrong."

On the opening laps of the Indy 500: "I always view the first two laps of the race as an exercise in avoiding all of the cars and walls around you. Speed is truly irrelevant at the start of the race. It's like being in a pack of wolves that are all trying to run in the same direction, and I always think it's better to do the biting than be bitten. The Indianapolis 500 is the most grueling and demanding race on drivers, teams, and equipment. The race is not won in the opening laps, but it certainly can be lost then."

On race strategy: "My approach in the last three or four years - and it took me six years to understand this - is that you have to go as fast as you can at the beginning of the race, but use the car the least amount possible. I know that seems like a paradox, but it is absolutely true: you have to be ready, make your car a little bit better at every pit stop, and have to understand how much you're willing to risk at the end. If you do it just right, you'll have one or two miles left in your pocket for that last little sprint.

In the beginning of the race, you'll fight with twenty other racing drivers for the same position, and then that fight will get down to fifteen. As the race goes on, that fight will get down to ten, and then inevitably you'll be fighting against those top three or four guys for that last little bit. I always say that I want to win the Indy 500, but that's a little too much to ask: what I really hope for is to be in that leading pack for those last twenty laps with a good car underneath me so it's just head-to-head competition. Whoever has the most courage wins it."

-CIR

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever