1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion Eddie Cheever Jr. completed 28 laps at the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway today during Opening Day practice for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500. Despite a failure of the left rear drive flange on...
1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion Eddie Cheever Jr. completed 28 laps at the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway today during Opening Day practice for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500. Despite a failure of the left rear drive flange on the back-up #51 Excite@Home Infiniti (which caused him to spin in Turn 2), Cheever's shakedown of the #51 Excite@Home primary car nonetheless ranked him among the early pacesetters. Cheever's fast lap of 216.773mph (41.518 seconds) was the fourth quickest of the day, fractions of a second behind practice leader Al Unser Jr.'s 217.223mph (41.432 seconds) effort.
Cheever (on his incident in Turn 2): "I went out to perform the routine checks and shake down the #51 Excite@Home Infiniti, but for some reason I couldn't get up to speed. My Chief Mechanic Owen Snyder radioed for me to pit, but I didn't sense the urgency in his voice, and I stayed out for another lap. As I began to slow down to come into the pits, something in the left rear wheel locked up, and I spun in Turn 2. When the crew looked over the car in the garage, they discovered that the left rear drive flange had failed, causing the brakes to lock. The incident was an unfortunate reminder of how quickly things can go wrong here at Indy. This is serious business. In the blink of an eye, we could have destroyed the car. Although it cost us $80,000, we were lucky to escape with only that much damage."
Experience #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Team action online at http://sports.excite.com/teamcheever: Internet giant Excite@Home, the leading online broadband service provider, will allow race fans to enjoy unprecedented access to Eddie Cheever Jr. and the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Team during the month of May via http://sports.excite.com/teamcheever. Starting today (May 13) fans can follow all of Cheever's activities and experiences leading up to the Indianapolis 500 through daily diaries written by Eddie. Visitors to http://sports.excite.com/teamcheever also have the opportunity to email Eddie, with answers to be posted daily for the next two weeks. Stay tuned to http://sports.excite.com/teamcheever for all the latest information on the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Team.