IRL: Kentucky Cheever completes final preparations

Indianapolis, IN (August 16, 2000) - Indy Racing title contender Eddie Cheever Jr. and his ...

Indianapolis, IN (August 16, 2000) - Indy Racing title contender Eddie Cheever Jr. and his #51 Excite@Home team returned to Kentucky Speedway earlier this week for their third and final test prior to the penultimate round of the 2000 Indy Racing Northern Light Series championship, the Belterra Resort Indy 300 on August 27.

The 1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion completed a total of 500 incident-free testing miles on August 14 and 15 in his Infiniti-powered Dallara machine. Entering the inaugural Indy Racing event at Kentucky Speedway, Cheever has logged over 1000 miles on the new 1.5-mile oval.

"The work isn't done yet, but we've had some good tests," explained #51 Excite@Home team manager Dick Caron. "We worked with several different engine configurations during the last two tests, and the Infiniti Indy engine program continues to make gains. It will be a very demanding, technical race because of the configuration, the bumps, and the banking."

Cheever, who earned the first Indy Racing victory for the #51 Excite@Home team and the Infiniti Indy engine at Pikes Peak in June, looks forward to the series' debut at Kentucky Speedway.

"Kentucky is an awesome circuit," noted Cheever. "It's not a cookie-cutter track. It's more similar to Las Vegas than it is to Texas or Atlanta. The Kentucky Speedway people have taken the standard 1.5-mile oval and made it their own."

"They've modified the banking, and the topography is different, with a few bumps," continued Cheever. "With the current Indy Racing aerodynamic configuration, I actually like that. Some bumps in the middle of the corners make it more interesting, and more difficult."

Cheever, currently second overall in the Indy Racing standings with two events remaining, anticipates an action-packed event at the challenging circuit thirty-five miles south of Cincinnati.

"I think we'll see a lot of passing, but we won't be running two abreast for the whole race," predicted Cheever, who trails series leader Buddy Lazier by only twenty-three points. "I don't want to be on the high side for more than a few laps. The #51 Excite@Home team has done its homework - now it's up to us to make the most of what we've learned come raceday."

Primary Sponsorship of the #51 Indy Car comes from Excite@Home. The company is based in Redwood City, California, at the heart of Silicon Valley. Associate Sponsors of Team Cheever include Infiniti, Firestone, Indy Promotional Products, Menards, Bosch, and Pennzoil.

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