IRL: Nashville: Cheever Racing race report

Struggles at Nashville pale in light of new chevy engine on the horizon LEBANON, Tenn. (July 20, 2003) - Buddy Rice lost the battle but may have won the war Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway. After running as high as sixth early in the...

Struggles at Nashville pale in light of new chevy engine on the horizon

LEBANON, Tenn. (July 20, 2003) - Buddy Rice lost the battle but may have won the war Saturday night at Nashville Superspeedway.

After running as high as sixth early in the race, Rice battled back from a broken water pipe to finish 18th in the Firestone Indy 200. The determined finish gave Red Bull Cheever Racing an edge in the race for the new Chevrolet engine.

With his finish, Rice moved 34 points ahead of Robbie Buhl, the next closest Chevrolet driver in the IRL IndyCar Series standings. If Rice holds that same position following next week's race at Michigan International Speedway, Red Bull Cheever Racing will be allowed to use the new Gen IV Chevy Indy V8 at the IRL race Aug. 10 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

"As soon as I could start smelling hot water, I radioed in to let the crew know that something was wrong," Rice said. "We decided to go another 15 to 20 laps before it started getting really bad, which explains why our car was so loose. The crew did a great job fixing the water leak and we were able to get back out into the race. At that point, we had lost about 40 laps, so it killed the strategy we had planned in the beginning. We went back out on the track to see how many points we could get and were also able to gain a few positions."

Rice moved up from 17th starting position to sixth early in the race before encountering trouble with the water pipe. His crew fixed the problem and got Rice back on track for the finish.

IRL officials announced before the race that they had approved the new Chevy engine. Panther Pennzoil Racing will debut the engine next week at Michigan, and the second-highest Chevy team in the standings will use the new Chevy at Gateway.

"Although we are new to the Chevy camp for 2003, the only team to outrun us is the team that has won the IRL IndyCar Series championship the past two years," said Eddie Cheever Jr., Red Bull Cheever Racing owner. "They have earned the first rights to this engine fair and square, but we are very much anticipating the new Gen IV Chevy in our car. This team has a record of winning in every year of competion in the IRL, and we intend to keep doing that. We are going to come back with a vengence. It will be a great show."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Robbie Buhl , Buddy Rice