IRL: Michigan: Cheever Racing Friday report

Brooklyn, MI (July 30, 2004) Red Bull Cheever Racing's Alex Barron looks to defend his 2003 "spin and win" at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) at Sunday's Michigan Indy 400. In last year's Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event at MIS, ...

Brooklyn, MI (July 30, 2004) Red Bull Cheever Racing's Alex Barron looks to defend his 2003 "spin and win" at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) at Sunday's Michigan Indy 400.

In last year's Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event at MIS, Barron spun on lap 164 and brought out his own yellow flag. He then came from sixth place on the restart to beat Sam Hornish Jr. to the finish line by a mere 0.0121 seconds, which set a new record as the closest open wheel finish in MIS history.

Red Bull Cheever Racing team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. also has a "spin and win" attached to his career in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." In the 1998 Indianapolis 500, Cheever's car made a quarter-spin to the left in Turn 1 of Lap 1, trying to avoid J.J. Yeley in front of him. Cheever went on to win the Indy 500.

Barron returns to the track with fond memories of his win, but is focusing his energy on perfecting race setup with his No. 51 crew. In today's combined practice session results, Barron topped out his Chevy-powered machine at 213.137 mph, earning him the 10th fastest pace of the day.

"Everything went really smooth today," Barron said. "We're happy that we've made gains in the speed of the car since we last tested here. We mostly concentrated on the balance of our car in traffic today and making sure we're all set for race day. The overall speed here this year is anywhere from 7 11 mph slower than last year, so it feels pretty different."

Ed Carpenter in his No. 52 Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone is one of three rookies competing in Sunday's Michigan Indy 400. However, with Carpenter's previous Infiniti Pro Series races and IndyCar testing at MIS, he is not battling the steep learning curve some rookies may experience.

"We have a good idea where we're at," Carpenter said. "We have a good starting sport from when we tested here, so we're able to apply things we learned and improve on them. I feel comfortable on this track and am going to keep working hard all weekend."

Carpenter logged 61 laps turning a 213.365 mph fast lap that put him in 7th in combined practice session results.

Sunday's 400-mile race is in the backyard of Chevy's hometown of Detroit, MI. Indy Racing League IndyCar Series qualifying begins Saturday, July 31st at 11 a.m. (EDT).

-rbcr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Alex Barron , J.J. Yeley , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter