Cheever and his ...
Cheever and his #51 IndyCar Open Practice For Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Friday, March 31, 2006) Eddie Cheever, Jr., and the #51 Circle K Cheever Racing Honda-Dallara opened practice today for Sunday's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, his second IRL IndyCar Series race since the 2002 season.
Cheever, the 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion and the series' first owner-driver dating back to its inception in 1997, logged a top-15 practice lap around the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit in this morning's 2-hour practice session. His best lap was clocked at 1 minute, 5.1159 seconds (an average of 99.515 mph) and he turned a total of 51 laps in all.
His practice session this afternoon was cut short after an incident involving series rookie Marco Andretti. Right-front suspension damage sent the Cheever Racing machine to the paddock after just three laps in the session.
Last weekend, Cheever brought home a 10th-place finish in the season-opening Indy 300 on the Homestead Miami Speedway 1.5-mile oval.
Practice resumes Saturday morning with single-car qualifying set for 1:45 p.m. EST. Race time Sunday is 3:45 p.m. EDT with ABC-TV's live coverage set to begin at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.
"We're doing our best to keep pushing our program along. We had a top-10 finish last weekend at Homestead which, on paper, got us off on the right foot. We're dusting off our road course package this weekend and are hoping to make some more progress. Every lap we turn takes us that much further along. That's why it's a shame we had to lose most of the afternoon practice today. We could've used the time on the track. I'm not sure why (the incident with Marco Andretti) happened. I drove into the corner at the end of the straight, I was holding my line, and the 26 car clipped the right side of my car. It is not the type of thing I would expect during Friday practice. We'll let the IRL officials analyze what happened and take the appropriate steps to try and keep that type of thing from not happening."