IRL: Texas II: Cheever Racing race report

Two cars in top ten for Red Bull Cheever Racing at Texas. All three Red Bull Cheever Racing drivers ran among the leaders Sunday during the Indy Racing League season finale at Texas Motor Speedway. Buddy Rice finished sixth, Eddie Cheever Jr.

Two cars in top ten for Red Bull Cheever Racing at Texas.

All three Red Bull Cheever Racing drivers ran among the leaders Sunday during the Indy Racing League season finale at Texas Motor Speedway.

Buddy Rice finished sixth, Eddie Cheever Jr. eighth and Robby McGehee 13th in the Chevy 500, ending a frustrating yet successful season for the team.

Rice managed to recover after his car stalled during a pit stop to post the sixth-place finish, his fifth consecutive complete race since joining the team in July.

"It was really good until the last pit stop when -- for whatever reason -- the car died," Rice said. "Once that happened we were in the same situation where we were too far back to make it up."

Cheever also recovered from a difficult start to finish eighth.

"I had to come in early for the second pit stop and change tires because I had a blister on the right front," Cheever said. "I went two laps down, and that was the end of our race. I managed to get one lap back and we barely made it in at the end with our fuel strategy. We had a teacup of fuel left. Considering where we were in the middle of the race eighth is pretty good."

McGehee, who came on board last week to drive the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti, led 13 laps of the race before Sam Hornish Jr. edged Helio Castroneves to win his second consecutive IRL championship.

"I got to lead, and run some laps with Sam," McGehee said. "Then, of course, I had to come in for gas. The Red Bull car was really fast in traffic. I had to work with it a little bit in traffic, but I could work with it. Unfortunately, we just got caught the wrong way on that yellow and went a couple laps down."

The race marked the final season for Red Bull Cheever Racing's Infiniti Indy V8 engine, which Cheever raced to victory and praised for its six seasons in the IRL.

"For Nissan this was our farewell run," he said. "I want to thank Nissan for all of their support. I enjoyed working with them and racing with them immensely. I hope they return to racing soon."

Red Bull Cheever Racing posted one victory and four pole positions this season, its first with Red Bull as the sponsor and Tom Walkinshaw Racing as technical partner.

"This year I had the best equipment I've ever had driving in the IRL, and I didn't win a race," Cheever said. "It's just one of those years you look back on and try to learn from. Red Bull came on board for this season and gave us the opportunity to be very competitive. We should have won a lot of races, and we didn't. I hope we learn from this lesson."

Rice was the pleasant surprise this season, finishing among the top 10 in four of his five races with Red Bull Cheever Racing, including a second-place finish at Michigan on July 28.

"The Red Bull car was fine all day," Rice said. "We sat right where we wanted to for most of the race. The car was really good on long runs. We just couldn't get a break to get us a podium finish or a win here. That's the way it goes."

Cheever said he hopes to bring Rice back for the 2003 season and make a run for the championship.

"I am looking forward to running him next year because I believe he has a lot to show," Cheever said.

Red Bull Cheever Racing, based in Indianapolis, is the brainchild of 1998 Indy 500 champion Eddie Cheever Jr. A leader in American motorsports, the Indy Racing League team is built on Cheever's experience in Formula One, sports cars and open-wheel oval racing. Corporate and technical partnerships with the world's leading energy drink Red Bull, Nissan North America's Infiniti Division, TWR Group, and Lincoln Financial Group greatly enhance the team's resources and technology. For more information, visit www.cheeverindyracing.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Eddie Cheever , Helio Castroneves , Buddy Rice , Tom Walkinshaw