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Infinite joy for Cheever.

If tradition is to be upheld, Eddie Cheever will win this year's Indy Racing Northern Light Series. The 42 year old ex-Arrows and Renault Formula One driver began the year as the only Infiniti powered driver in the entire IRL field and after victory in Sunday's Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway, he now leads the championship.

The winner of the Radisson 200 for the last three years has gone on to win the championship and after a performance like the one he put in on Sunday, few will bet against Cheever continuing that trend for a fourth consecutive year.

Starting tenth, Cheever gained three places on the opening lap but was quite content to let Robbie Buhl in the only other Infiniti powered car in the field pull clear in the lead. Scott Sharp was able to muscle past pole-sitter Greg Ray to take second while Mark Dismore and Jeret Schroeder battled for fourth.

The race was only six laps old when Sarah Fisher made contact with the wall in turn two to bring out the yellow flags. As she entered the turn Billy Boat spun a little way in-front of her which caused her to break sharply. The back end snapped away and she was out. Somehow Boat avoided the concrete but was left stranded in the middle of the track awaiting a push start.

Fisher was not the first retirement of the day however, that honour being bestowed upon championship leader going into the race, Buddy Lazier. The Hemelgarn driver started the race 13th and managed to keep clear of the mid-field jostling on the opening half lap until suddenly and without warning, his Aurora engine went bang and as the rest of the field completed their first lap, a dejected Lazier coasted into the pits and retired.

Barring a miracle, Lazier's retirement meant that the championship lead was up for grabs and any one of seven drivers could take it. One of those drivers was Buhl who held the championship lead until the Indy 500 courtesy of his season opening Walt Disney World victory, achieved with an Aurora engine. The Dreyer & Reinbold driver was in an attacking mood and as the field were given the green flag, Buhl made a superb getaway. Sharp also got a good run and the pair soon left Ray, who shattered the track record in qualifying, alone in third.

Cheever got the jump on Eliseo Salazar and Schroeder on the re-start and moved up on the tail of Dismore where he remained for the next 20 laps.

Buhl and Sharp continued to circulate within a second of each other for the opening forty laps and although Ray closed up dramatically when they first encountered back-markers he dropped away in clear air. By lap 42 he was four seconds behind the leader and looking nervously over his shoulder at the advancing Cheever who had taken fourth when Dismore began suffering severe understeer. The Kelley driver actually dropped to 15th with the problem, almost going a lap down to the charging Buhl before the first round of pit-stops.

Other drivers on the move in the early stages were Donnie Beechler, Airton Dare and Buzz Calkins. Beechler started 15th, one place behind Calkins and one place ahead of Dare and all three made light work of the mid-fielders to climb into the top ten by the quarter distance mark. Beechler had made the most progress by this point and was up to fifth place, two spots ahead of Dare and three ahead of Calkins. However the Cahill driver wasn't done there and as the fuel loads went down, Beechler's car reacted better than most and he was able to put pressure on Cheever. After several laps shadowing Cheever's machine, Beechler went to the inside coming down the back straight and pushed Cheever wide into turn three. In a brave move, the young charger was up into fourth and closing on Ray.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Eddie Cheever celebrates
Radisson Indy 200 - the start
Airton Dare - Team Xtreme
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 24, 2014 to win the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 24, 2014, winning the IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Russell LaBounty/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, is congratulated by teammate Helio Castroneves after capturing the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014 with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6 captures the pole Saturday, August 23, 2014, with the fastest qualifying time for Sunday`s IndyCar race at at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power (center), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 with second-place finisher Juan Pablo Montoya (left), driver of the #2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, and Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Huggies Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 17, 2014 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. Power has the driver championship points lead heading into the final two races of the season.  (Photo by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a sixth-place finish Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. The finish was good enough for Power to retake the drivers points championship lead from teammate Helio Castroneves. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (right), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. Sebastien Bourdais (left), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. It`s Dixon`s first victory of the season. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates his victory Sunday, August 3, 2014 during the IndyCar Series race at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, Ohio. It`s Dixon`s first victory of the season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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