IRL: Goodyear, Cheever added to 2001 list

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Nov. 17, 2000 - Indy Racing Northern Light Series stars Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. have accepted invitations to race in the 2001 True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) Series. Buddy Lazier, ...

IRL: Goodyear, Cheever added to 2001 list

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Nov. 17, 2000 - Indy Racing Northern Light Series stars Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. have accepted invitations to race in the 2001 True Value International Race of Champions (IROC) Series. Buddy Lazier, the 2000 Northern Light Series champion and 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner, agreed earlier this week to drive in the True Value IROC series. Next year marks the 25th anniversary season for the all-star series, in which 12 of the world's best drivers compete in equally prepared Pontiac Firebird stock cars. This will be Goodyear's first year in the IROC series. He was invited in 1993 and 1994 but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. Cheever will race in IROC for the third consecutive year. "I was delighted and honored to be asked to participate," said Goodyear. "I received invitations and had to decline in 1993 and 1994, so this time I jumped at the opportunity. To be able to race at Daytona against the elite stock car drivers at their home track will be tough, but it will be a great experience." Goodyear ran 78 laps at the 2.5-mile, high-banked Daytona International Speedway in an IROC Pontiac on Nov. 15, two days after Lazier tested. Joining Goodyear were IROC test drivers Dave Marcis, Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Andy Hillenburg, a veteran of the 2000 Indianapolis 500. It was Goodyear's first time in a stock car. "The drivers were very accommodating," said Goodyear. "We ran various tire and fuel combinations so I could get an understanding of how the car behaved in varying situations." Cheever, the 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion, won the IROC race at Michigan Speedway in 2000, becoming the first open-wheel driver to win an IROC race since Al Unser Jr. in 1997. "I'm really honored to be invited back," said Cheever. "It's great to compete against the NASCAR guys - it's hard racing, and I love it. I like to put all the chips down on the table and just go for it, and IROC racing lends itself to that. "It was a lot of fun to get my first IROC win at Michigan this year. Hopefully I'll be able to start off strong at Daytona next season, build on my experience and make a run for the championship." Goodyear finished second, and Cheever placed third in the 2000 Northern Light Cup standings, with Goodyear driving the Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, and Cheever driving the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. The two drivers finished the Northern Light Series season in dramatic fashion, with Goodyear beating Cheever to the line at the Excite 500 on Oct. 15 at Texas Motor Speedway by .14 of a second for the race win. Goodyear will not return to the Panther Racing team in 2001 and is considering several opportunities for the 2001 Northern Light Series season. IROC's 25th anniversary season is scheduled to begin Feb. 16 at Daytona. The complete 2001 schedule and driver lineup has not been announced. The fourth annual IROC at Indy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is expected to be the season finale in August.

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