IRL: Indy500I: Third Infiniti entry solidly qualified

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 13, 2001) -- It was a roller-coaster weekend for Eddie Cheever Jr. and the Excite@Home crew, but all ended well with the Infiniti team qualifying 30th with a solid four-lap average speed of 222.152 mph. After pole day ...

Indianapolis, Ind. (May 13, 2001) -- It was a roller-coaster weekend for Eddie Cheever Jr. and the Excite@Home crew, but all ended well with the Infiniti team qualifying 30th with a solid four-lap average speed of 222.152 mph.

After pole day qualifications ended the Cheever Indy Racing team made preparations to qualify the No. 51 car in anticipation that the 220.513 mph speed set in the No. 51T car on Saturday would not be fast enough to stay in the field.

In the final hour of second-day qualifications the team decided to withdraw their qualified car and make an attempt with their second car, which proved to be much faster during the morning practice session. Starting his attempt just 8 minutes before the end of qualifying for the day, Cheever drove four laps at 221.884, 222.189, 222.311, 222.223 for an average speed of 222.152 mph.

Cheever's No. 51 Excite@Home Infiniti is currently 30th on the provisional starting grid, while Robbie Buhl is ninth in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Infiniti and Scott Goodyear is 16th in the No. 52 Thermos Grill2Go Infiniti.

There will be no track activity until Wednesday, May 16 when practice will take place from Noon to 6 p.m. (EDT).

Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Excite@Home Dallara-Infiniti: "I'm elated that we have qualified. Those four laps for me were almost as important as winning the Indy 500 in 1998. If you make one mistake, your average drops dramatically. We changed everything on the #51 Excite@Home Infiniti twice, we ran three good laps this morning, and we knew we had a good car. We were just waiting for the track temperatures to drop below 100°F. When the track temperature goes down, the grip level picks up, but it's very tricky to get the timing right. Ideally, you want to be the last driver out before the gun goes off, and we were pretty close. It was very nerve-wracking because we had to withdraw the #51 Excite@Home T-car that we qualified yesterday, and if anything had gone wrong, we would have been looking at a very long week ahead. I'm very satisfied with our effort today. The #51 Excite@Home Infiniti ran very well. I actually feel like I am on the pole."

-IM

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Scott Goodyear