SPARTA, Ky., Friday, Aug. 10, 2001 - Eddie Cheever Jr. put on an amazing display of consistent speed during practice Aug. 10 for the Belterra Casino Indy 300, leading both sessions with times separated by just six ten-thousandths of a second.
1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Cheever led the second session with a top lap of 25.1826 seconds, 214.434 mph in the #51 Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. That was a near-mirror image of his session-leading morning best of 25.1820, 214.439.
"The car felt good, and we were able to run a 214," Cheever said. "I stick to my guns: I wish we'd go back to 6 degrees of wing. It was really fun last year because you had to really drive the car. Now we have just a little too much downforce.
"With 12 degrees of wing, whoever is in front is at a disadvantage because he or she is punching a hole in the air big enough to drag 10 cars around, not just three."
The Indy Racing League is mandating a 12-degree rear-wing angle at this event instead of the 6-degree rear-wing angle used last year for this event.
Past Indy Racing champions Scott Sharp and Greg Ray also were consistent, taking the second and third spots, respectively, in both sessions on the 1.5-mile oval.
Sharp's best lap was 25.2688, 213.719 in the No. 8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, while Ray's top lap was 25.3611, 212.925 in the No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Both of their top laps were recorded during the afternoon session.
Rounding out the top five were Robbie Buhl at 25.3742, 212.815 in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone and Mark Dismore at 25.3941, 212.648 in the No. 28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Both fast laps came in the afternoon session.
There was little in practice to separate Indy Racing Northern Light Series leader Sam Hornish Jr. and second-place Buddy Lazier, who trails Hornish by 40 points in the standings.
Hornish was seventh fastest overall at 25.4594, 212.102 in the No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Defending event and series champion Lazier was eighth at 25.4765, 211.960 in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.
Lazier's younger brother, Jaques Lazier, continued his fine recent form with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He was sixth overall at 25.4591, 212.105 in the No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.
MBNA Pole Qualifying starts at noon (EDT) Saturday. The 200-lap, 300-mile race starts at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday and will be televised live on ABC.