IRL: Tomas Scheckter quick at Fontana test with Cheever Racing

Scheckter Quickest with Infiniti Power in Audition for Red Bull Cheever Racing FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2002) -- Tomas Scheckter was the fastest driver of the day at the California Speedway portion of the Indy Racing League& ...

Scheckter Quickest with Infiniti Power in Audition for Red Bull Cheever Racing

FONTANA, Calif. (Feb. 6, 2002) -- Tomas Scheckter was the fastest driver of the day at the California Speedway portion of the Indy Racing League’s Test in the West. Scheckter, a rookie who is auditioning for a ride in the No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti, topped the field of 24 drivers with a fastest average speed of 221.952 mph. Cheever was third fastest of the day with a 221.785 mph lap in the No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti.

The Test in the West continues on Feb. 8-9 at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.

Tomas Scheckter, No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing
Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone:
"Today went well. I am just getting used to it. This is a new circuit for me again, and only the second time I have driven on an oval. It's gone really well. Eddie's helped me a lot. I am glad to see how quick we are going."

COMPARE INDY RACING CARS TO THE DRIVING YOU HAVE DONE IN FORMULA 3000 AND FORMULA ONE.
"This is a different world really. Oval racing at the speeds I am doing now, I've never done before. I think I've adapted quite quickly with the help of the team. After two days, I feel I am at home here. I am still getting used to everything."

WHAT DOES YOUR FATHER JODY SCHECKTER --1979 F1 WORLD CHAMPION-- SAY ABOUT YOUR INDY RACING TESTS?
"He just says come back home it's too quick out there. No really, I think he is happy I'm here and that I'm doing a good job."

Eddie Cheever Jr., No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing
Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone:
"Starting yesterday, with all the press we had and the public interest, I think the IRL got off to a good start in Southern California. Today was like a race. There were so many cars and drivers that I didn't even know. It was nice to see the Penske's out there again. Having a rookie run with for you, at speeds like this, and with traffic, makes for some anxious moments for a car owner. We ran Tomas in Las Vegas and he was impeccable. We ran him here in traffic and he beat me on speed. He didn't get in trouble all day long, and he's making my decision on which driver we are going to pick for the second seat a lot easier. We are going to run him again in Phoenix and after that we're going to sit down and make our final decision. It was a great day for Infiniti. All the Infiniti cars were fast. It will be a great race here, with three cars abreast. There was a group of four or five of us there at the end. It was fun. I was angry that there was no prize money."

ABOUT TOMAS SCHECKTER
"It's one thing to tell someone how to do something. It's another to watch them go out and do it naturally. We went two different directions with the cars, and we knew he was quick enough that we could do that. Normally, you can't have a young guy do that but he is crazy enough to test very well on ovals. I keep telling him that he has to respect the walls, and he tells me not to worry. He has a natural instinct as a driver. His father was the Formula One world champion and one of the most charismatic, headstrong drivers in the modern era. The apple, in his case, didn't fall far from the tree. Tomas has had a lot of good training in Europe, racing against the best from every nation. He came very highly recommended from the Arrows Formula One team and TWR. I am surprised he caught on as quickly as he did. But we are just starting, and Phoenix is another story."

Richard Caron, General Manager, Red Bull Cheever Racing
"We felt confident enough with Tomas today that we were able to go two different directions with each of the cars. That was a plus for the team, because we gathered twice as much information for the engineers to evaluate. It was nice to start the season off on a high note like this. But race day is a different story and we have a lot of work to do. We look forward to see how Tomas does on the Phoenix bull ring, which is very different from the ovals he has been on so far."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever