FOUNTAIN, Colo. - Eddie Cheever of Orlando, Fla., scored another first with his victory in the Radisson Indy 200 race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The 1998 Indy 500 winner posted the Nissan Infiniti engine's first win in Indy Racing League...
FOUNTAIN, Colo. - Eddie Cheever of Orlando, Fla., scored another first with his victory in the Radisson Indy 200 race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The 1998 Indy 500 winner posted the Nissan Infiniti engine's first win in Indy Racing League history, breaking the Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8's four-year, 34-race winning streak.
Cheever noted, "We got the first win for Oldsmobile, and now we've got the first one for Infiniti."
Cheever won the race under the fifth caution flag of the day. He averaged 135.230 mph in the Team Cheever Excite@Home Infiniti Dallara. Airton Dare of Brazil was second in the TeamXtreme Uproar.com Oldsmobile G Force and Scott Sharp of Carmel, Ind., was third in the Kelley Racing Delphi Automotive Systems/MCI Worldcom Oldsmobile Dallara. Buzz Calkins ran the fastest race lap, 167.131 mph, with Oldsmobile power in the Bradley Motorsports Bradley Food Marts/Sav-O-Mat Dallara.
Dick Amacher, GM Racing development engineer for the Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8, offered congratulations to the Infiniti team, but noted the IRL Aurora V8 is still the engine of choice in the IRL series.
"We congratulate Frank Honsowetz and his whole Infiniti team for the great job that they did and for their success today at Pikes Peak," he said. "Infiniti has had the Oldsmobile engine in the crosshairs for three years. Certainly they put in a good effort and this is their day. The Oldsmobile teams and engine builders are still extremely competitive; the Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 is still the powerplant to beat. We'll be back at Atlanta for the next race."
Six drivers exchanged the lead seven times during the 200-mile, 200-lap race. Sharp led the most laps at 77, and gave Cheever his biggest challenge.
"From the moment the green flag dropped on Friday, we had a great car," said Sharp. "I had much more confidence heading into this race than I've ever had before. Eddie and I had a couple of good runs coming off yellows with each other. I was pulling pretty good both times, it would just seem that late in the run Eddie would start catching back up to me."
IRL rookie Dare was excited about his career-best Indy car finish. When Sharp reported he'd seen lightning north of the track, Dare noted the lightning-bolt graphics on his race car and quipped, "That was for me!"
Oldsmobile drivers led half of the race. Oldsmobile engines powered 16 of the 17 race finishers and 24 of the 26 starters.
<pre> RACE SUMMARY: Track: Pikes Peak International Raceway, one-mile oval Winner: Eddie Cheever, Team Cheever Excite@Home Infiniti Dallara Margin of Victory: under caution Average Speed: 135.230 mph
Top Five Finishers: Pos./Driver/Engine Laps 1. Eddie Cheever/Infiniti 200 2. Airton Dare/Oldsmobile 200 3. Scott Sharp/Oldsmobile 200 4. Mark Dismore/Oldsmobile 199 5. Donnie Beechler/Oldsmobile 198
Pole: Greg Ray/Oldsmobile, 179.874 mph (track record)
Manufacturer Results: Oldsmobile Infiniti Laps Led 100 100 Starters 24 2 Running at Finish 16 1
POINT STANDINGS: (After 6 of 9 events) Driver/Engine Wins Points 1. Eddie Cheever/Infiniti 1 176 2. Buddy Lazier/Olds 1 168 3. Scott Sharp/Olds 1 159 4. Scott Goodyear/Olds 0 156 5. Mark Dismore/Olds 0 155
Manufacturer Wins Points 1. Oldsmobile 5 61 2. Nissan 1 45
NEXT RACE: Midas 500 Classic, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Ga., July 15, 2000