May 30, 1999 The Indy 500 Ends Early For Team Cheever Engine failures in both Team Cheever entries eclipses hopes of a repeat Indianapolis, Indiana (May 30, 1999) - The 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500 ended early for the 1998 Indy 500 ...
May 30, 1999
The Indy 500 Ends Early For Team Cheever Engine failures in both Team Cheever entries eclipses hopes of a repeat
Indianapolis, Indiana (May 30, 1999) - The 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500 ended early for the 1998 Indy 500 champion, Eddie Cheever, Jr. and his rookie teammate, Wim Eyckmans when both car's engines expired within 25 laps of one another. Eyckmans' Aurora broke a cam timing chain on lap 114 allowing Eyckmans time enough to limp back to the pits; Cheever lost his Infiniti engine on lap 139 while running third and on his way to making his next move up the grid to recapture his title. Cheever and Eyckmans finished in 18th and 23rd respectively.
"This team gave me a great car. I could pass high or low...anywhere. No one could touch us in traffic," spoke a despondent Cheever of his #51 Team Cheever/Children's Beverage Group/Dallara/Goodyear/Infiniti. "All I ever ask of this team is to give me a car that is competitive and that's what they did. I'm very proud of what this team has done."
"I'm glad that we made the switch to Infiniti, but I do wish we had done it earlier," continued Cheever. "We tried to cram six months of work into two months and we came up short. The engine is incredibly strong. We still need to work on its reliability."
Team Cheever rookie, Wim Eyckmans had worked his #52 EGP/Beaulieu of America Dallara/Goodyear/Oldsmobile up to 13th position from his starting spot at 29th. Under a yellow caused when race leader, Arie Luyendyk hit the wall, Eyckmans came into the pit complaining of a vibration. With the engine cover off, the team diagnosed the problem and closed up shop for the day.
"The car was fine, but it seemed that I was losing 15 horsepower after each of my stops. When it went, it just went," described the 26-year old Belgium rookie. "This is a very powerful place and very tough. It's even tougher when you have these kinds of problems."
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