Originally created 06/12/06

IRL owner-driver finds times hard



FORT WORTH, Texas - Eddie Cheever Jr. is the only owner-driver in the IndyCar Series, returning to the cockpit this season after three years solely as an owner. It hasn't been easy so far for the 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner.

"It's tough to stomach, coming to the track being 3-4 mph off the pace," said Cheever, who has struggled to find sponsors. "You've got (to) eat vegetables to get the dessert."

Cheever started 16th in the 19-car field at Texas on Saturday night. His qualifying speed of 209.414 mph was more than 4 mph behind polesitter Sam Hornish Jr.

During last week's race at Watkins Glen International, team owner Michael Andretti and drivers Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick accused Cheever of crashing them in two separate incidents.

BOWLING FOR DOLLARS: Hornish did his Indianapolis 500 victory tour, drove another race, spent about 10 hours home in Ohio and then started his week in Texas at a bowling alley.

Hornish held his second annual celebrity bowling tournament in Texas and raised $113,500 for Speedway Children's Charity, which funds hundreds of area children's organizations in a four-county area in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hornish personally contributed $25,000. His parents and Roger Penske, his team owner, also made sizable contributions.

"This year was bigger and better than last year, so I'm really happy with how things have improved," Hornish said. "I'm looking forward to next year's event and raising even more money."