Daytona Beach, Florida - Eddie Cheever, Jr., finished eleventh in Round One of the True Value International Race Of Champions (IROC) Series at 2.5-mile historic Daytona International Speedway. In his 34th career race at Daytona, today, Dale ...
Daytona Beach, Florida - Eddie Cheever, Jr., finished eleventh in Round One of the True Value International Race Of Champions (IROC) Series at 2.5-mile historic Daytona International Speedway. In his 34th career race at Daytona, today, Dale Earnhardt won the 40-lap, 100-mile classic drafting battle just .124-second in front of former Indy Racing driver and NASCAR star, Tony Stewart.
"I thought I had a top three finish going today," said the Central Florida resident, who last month placed third at the Northern Light Indy Racing Series season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway. "Half way through I was a rising star. By the end, I was nothing better than a drafting school drop-out!"
Cheever started his yellow Pontiac Firebird in fourth place and worked his way up nicely through the pack to second. Ready to take the lead, he miscued and dropped back to mid pack right behind Dale Earnhardt. Cheever followed Earnhardt debating whether to make a pass or ride the train closer to the finish. Prematurely, Cheever made his move on the Champ, got stuck in the middle of the pack, lost 300 more yards in a dicing match with fellow Northern Light Indy Racing Series driver, Mark Dismore, and, finally, dropped to eleventh place at the checkered flag.
"I had a free lesson handed to me by the Master himself and I turned it down," said the 25-year racing veteran "I had the best teacher in drafting in front of me today and I didn't allow it to last more than 30 yards. A case of getting too big for one's britches, I'd say."
The results of today's race will also act as the starting grid for Round Two in Talladega and are as follows:
1. Dale Earnhardt 7. Bobby Labonte 2. Tony Stewart 8. Dale Jarrett 3. Jeff Burton 9. Greg Ray 4. Mark Martin 10. Jeff Gordon 5. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 11. Eddie Cheever, Jr. 6. Rusty Wallace 12. Mark Dismore
"I must say that that was the most fun I have had in a long time. I was bumping and grinding with Tony (Stewart) so much at the beginning of the race that he finally put his hands up in the air, looked me in the mirror, and gestured something like 'what's up?'," laughed the 1998 Indy 500 Champion. "I enjoy this series so much and having the chance to race these guys. You just never know how it's going to turn out, but it sure is a lot of fun getting there."
A replay of today's race will air on ABC Sports on March 12th at 5pm ET. Round Two of IROC's 4-race series will take place Saturday, April 15th on the 2.66-mile high-banked tri-oval of the Talladega Superspeedway.