IRL: League Notebook 1999-11-05

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK More changes in store for Cheever in 2000; Treadway re-signs mechanical gurus INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 5, 1999 -Eddie Cheever Jr. will start the 2000 Indy Racing League season with an entirely different...

PEP BOYS INDY RACING LEAGUE NOTEBOOK More changes in store for Cheever in 2000; Treadway re-signs mechanical gurus

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 5, 1999 -Eddie Cheever Jr. will start the 2000 Indy Racing League season with an entirely different racing package than the one he used to win the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway just 10 months ago. Cheever won that event in a Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear combination. But he switched to the Nissan Infiniti engine in April, and he will use a Riley & Scott chassis and Firestone tires in the 2000 season, said Owen Snyder III, the team's chief mechanic. All Indy Racing teams will run on Firestone tires in 2000, as Goodyear recently withdrew from all Indy-style racing. Indy Racing Online will take a closer look at Cheever's new look for 2000. Check on Monday, Nov. 8 for the full story. Treadway keeps ace wrenches: Treadway Racing recently re-signed crew chief Skip Faul and engineer Jeff Britton to multiyear contracts. Faul has been with Treadway since 1997. Britton became chief engineer this season. Both helped driver Sam Schmidt earn seven top-10 finishes, one victory and a fifth-place finish in the final standings. Fast lady: Winchester Speedway in east-central Indiana long has been one of the fastest high-banked ovals in America. Now a woman holds the midget qualifying speed record there. Sarah Fisher, who made her Pep Boys Indy Racing League debut in the 1999 season finale at Texas Motor Speedway, shocked the USAC MCI WorldCom Midget regulars on Oct. 24 when she turned a qualifying lap at 14.686 seconds and a speed of 122.566 mph. This broke Dan Drinan's record of 14.718 and 122.299. Fisher then won the semifinal race. In the feature, she moved as high as third from her inverted, sixth-place start before falling out due to mechanical problems in 17th. Fisher, 19, will enroll at Ohio State as a freshman in January and is expected to participate in the 2000 Indy Racing League season opener, the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 29. Best chance: Wonder where there's the greatest variety of winners in major-league auto racing? Try the Pep Boys Indy Racing League. The 1999 season saw seven different drivers take the checkered flag in 10 races for a .700 opportunity percentage. Only champion Greg Ray (three wins) and Scott Goodyear (two) won more than once. Other 1999 winners were Eddie Cheever Jr., Kenny Brack, Scott Sharp, Sam Schmidt and Mark Dismore. Schmidt and Dismore became first-time winners in the final two races of the season. CART had 10 winners in 20 races for a 50 percent ratio of opportunity. Winners there were Juan Montoya (seven), Dario Franchitti (three), Adrian Fernandez (two), Paul Tracy (two), the late Greg Moore, Michael Andretti, Gil de Ferran, Christian Fittipaldi, Tony Kanaan and Bryan Herta (one each). Moving to Formula One, the percentage is .375 with six winners in 16 races. F1 winners were Mika Hakkinen (five), Eddie Irvine (four), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (two), David Coulthard (two), Michael Schumacher (two) and Johnny Herbert (1). Finally, NASCAR presents the lowest winning possibility at .355 percent. With two races remaining, there have been 11 different winners in 31 races. The Winston Cup winners were Jeff Gordon (seven), Jeff Burton (six), Dale Jarrett (four), Bobby Labonte (four), Dale Earnhardt (three), Mark Martin (two) and Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Joe Nemechek (one each). *** Staying power: As the fifth Indy Racing League season starts Jan. 29 with the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway, it is interesting to note that eight drivers who competed in the first WDWS race on Jan. 27, 1996 also competed in the final race of the 1999 season Oct. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway. Buzz Calkins won the inaugural Indy Racing League event at Walt Disney World and placed eighth at Texas. Robbie Buhl was third in '96, 24th at Texas. Others who drove in both races and their finishes: John Paul Jr. (ninth and 18th); Eddie Cheever Jr. (10th and fourth); Scott Sharp (11th and 19th); Davey Hamilton (12th and second); Stephan Gregoire (16th and 15th), and Buddy Lazier (17th and 10th). *** Remembering Moore: A Greg Moore Fund has been established in honor of the bright, young CART driver who was killed in a crash Oct. 31 at Fontana, Calif. U.S. racing fans can send their donations to: Greg Moore Fund, c/o Molson Indy Vancouver, 765 Pacific Blvd., Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 4Y9, Canada. Canadian fans may make a donation in his name at any Toronto-Dominion Bank. Anyone wishing to send a letter of condolence via e-mail should address it to and type "Condolences for Greg" in the subject line. Hot laps: Greg Ray Collectibles is offering a colorful, limited-edition T-shirt celebrating Ray's 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League championship. The shirt can be purchased exclusively online at for $25 ... Nienhouse Motorsports co-owner Phil Nienhouse and his wife, Sherry, will be honored with the "Best Community Spirit Award" by the International Center on Deafness & the Arts on Nov. 6 in Northfield, Ill. The Nienhouses will receive the award during the third annual ICODA "Spotlight on Racing Gala." The Nienhouses are being honored for their tireless work for children in the foster-care system. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward will receive a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the dinner.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Joe Nemechek , Buzz Calkins , Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Scott Goodyear , Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Sam Schmidt , Dan Drinan , Rodger Ward , Greg Moore , Mark Martin