FONTANA, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001 - Strong winds that gusted to nearly 40 mph hampered the first day of Red Bull-Cheever Infiniti Racing's two-day test Nov. 27 at California Speedway. Team owner-driver Eddie Cheever Jr. turned 30 laps on...
FONTANA, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001 - Strong winds that gusted to nearly 40 mph hampered the first day of Red Bull-Cheever Infiniti Racing's two-day test Nov. 27 at California Speedway.
Team owner-driver Eddie Cheever Jr. turned 30 laps on the 2-mile oval in the #51 Red Bull-Cheever Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, with a top speed of 218 mph. Rookie Buddy Rice turned 45 laps, with a top speed of 212 mph. The team was unable to start testing until 2 p.m. (PST) due to the strong "Santa Ana" winds, which also blew dirt and dust on the track surface. Red Bull-Cheever is the first Indy Racing League team to test at the California Speedway, which will play host to its inaugural Indy Racing event March 24, 2002.
"It is a great facility," Cheever said Nov. 27. "I'm just sorry Mother Nature didn't cooperate with us. I look forward to tomorrow, when hopefully the winds will subside and we can get down to some serious testing."
Cheever and 1997 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Jeff Ward are scheduled to turn laps for the team today at Fontana. Rice also will test if time permits. The team is testing Rice and Ward as possible drivers for a second Cheever Indy Racing entry in 2002.
Team manager Richard Caron was impressed with the performance of Rice, former Toyota Atlantic champion.
"Buddy did a good job getting up to speed," Caron said. "He was consistent, steady and level-headed."
The entire field of Indy Racing drivers will travel to the California Speedway on Feb. 5-6 for the beginning of the annual Test in the West. A media day Feb. 5 at California Speedway will kick off the event followed by testing Feb. 6 on the 2-mile oval.
A 400-mile Indy Racing League event is scheduled March 24 at California Speedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN2. It's the third race on the 15-event 2002 Indy Racing League schedule, highlighted by the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26. For California Speedway ticket information, call the track at (800) 944-7223.