Heating Up

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There's nothing like a little trash talk to get things heated up heading into the SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio on Saturday, June 24. Already one of the most exciting and entertaining races on the IndyCar circuit, the race might provide some additional fireworks from a group that includes the most famous family in open-wheel racing, a former Indianapolis 500 winner and rising star Danica Patrick. Two days after both Michael and Marco Andretti accused 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, Jr. of intentionally crashing 19-year-old rookie Marco Andretti during the race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, Cheever fired back. "To think I would intentionally take anyone out is just ludicrous," Cheever said in a statement released by his team today. "It's beyond words. It was a racing accident, pure and simple. There certainly wasn't any intent, so I find the accusations incomprehensible." After the accident, Marco Andretti said Cheever "absolutely, on purpose" crashed into him. During a live TV interview after the crash, Michael Andretti, Marco's father and team owner, called Cheever "a complete idiot." Patrick piled on with the comments as well after her incident in front of Cheever. "Cheever took me out on the restart, and that was what put us a lap down. It is unfortunate and it is silly. There was no point in doing something so desperate on a restart, but he did it. I don't know why he was trying to pass there." "She did that all by herself," Cheever countered. Then Cheever, when referring again to the group and most likely targeting Marco and Michael Andretti, went below the belt. "The last I looked, I earned the label of Indy 500 champion; those lobbing unfounded accusations at me have not." Cheever, who once said racing at Richmond International Raceway is like "flying fighter jets in a gymnasium" might have a couple MiG's on his tail on June 24.

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