Cheever Doubles Up
January 6, 2004 | 10:49 P.M. EST
"Our planning for the 2004 season began at the end of last year," said Managing Director Max Jones. “We wanted to build for the new season and hire the best drivers, engineers and crew to get us back on the podium. We're coming into a new year with two very talented American drivers who complement each other well with their range of open-wheel experience. We couldn’t be in a better position than right now."
Both drivers have graced the podium on several occasions. Barron, the 33-year-old veteran of IndyCar Series and CART racing, won his first IRL race at Nashville in 2002 and captured glory again in 2003 at Michigan International Speedway. He joined Red Bull Cheever Racing for the final three races of the 2003 season and brought a full resume that includes top teams, major wins and series championships. He served as a replacement driver for three injured drivers last year – Gil de Ferran, Arie Luyendyk and Felipe Giaffone – including a remarkable run from 25th to sixth in the Indianapolis 500.
"I'm really looking forward to having a full time ride with Red Bull Cheever Racing," Barron said. “The crew has already been working so hard to prepare for the season. We'll be testing several times before the first race at Homestead and are going to start this year being very competitive. I'm glad that I will be able to work with Ed Carpenter. He's a very talented driver that will be able to show his full potential this year."
Carpenter, a 22-year-old veteran of the IRL Infiniti Pro Series and USAC open-wheel racing, was victorious at the inaugural Freedom 100 Infiniti Pro Series race last May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With three second-place finishes in the Infiniti Pro Series in 2003, he stepped up and competed in three IndyCar Series races for PDM Racing, finishing 13th at Chicagoland Speedway and 13th at California Speedway. With his natural talent and guidance from Barron, Carpenter will be a strong contender for the 2004 Rookie of the Year honors.
"I'm happy to be given the opportunity to work with Eddie Cheever for a team that he has worked so hard to build," Carpenter said. "I have a close relationship with him since he has been a mentor throughout my entire career. Working with Eddie along with having Red Bull on board as one of the coolest partners in the league, puts us in a great position to be competitive in every race. Being teammates with an experienced driver like Alex Barron will be a great advantage for me."
Eddie Cheever Jr., owner of Red Bull Cheever Racing is confident for the 2004 season. "GM ended on a really strong note last year and have been working hard all winter to prepare for next year. I'm looking forward to continuing our relationship with GM and our third consecutive year partnering with Red Bull. Not only are we expanding to a two-car team, we're doing it with two of the best American open-wheel drivers out there," Cheever said.
The 16-race season begins Feb. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. However, the newly expanded Red Bull Cheever Racing team will participate in open tests Jan. 27-29 at Homestead and Feb. 10-12 at Phoenix International Raceway, site of the second IRL IndyCar Series race March 20.