IRL: Eddie Cheever, Jr. past and present

Eddie Cheever is one of the most experienced drivers in racing today having driven everything from Formula One to Indy Cars to stock cars in the IROC series. Although born in the United States, Cheever grew up in Italy. He drove in his first...

Eddie Cheever is one of the most experienced drivers in racing today having driven everything from Formula One to Indy Cars to stock cars in the IROC series. Although born in the United States, Cheever grew up in Italy. He drove in his first race at 13 and became the Italian and European go-kart champion. At 19, Cheever joined the famous Ferrari racing team as a test driver. Cheever advanced through the Formula series, driving Formula One from 1978 to 1989. He has driven more Grand Prix races than any other American (132 starts), including Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney.

Cheever moved to the Indy circuit in 1990, winning Rookie of the Year honors in that year's Indianapolis 500 and qualifying for a front-row starting position in the 1992 event. In addition to winning the 1998 Indianapolis 500, he also recorded the fastest race lap in Indianapolis 500 history, logging 236.103 on lap 78 in 1996. Cheever also won both the 1999 and 1997 Indy 200 at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando.

Full Name: Eddie McKay Cheever, Jr. (e=mc2)

Personal: Born January 10, 1958, in Phoenix, Arizona. Family moved to Italy when Eddie was a child. Attended school in Rome. Fluent in English and Italian. Two children, Estelle, age 10, and Eddie, age 6.

Residence: Orlando and Indianapolis

Career Highlights: Winner - 1998 Indianapolis 500 (First owner/driver to win the 500 since A.J. Foyt in 1977)

Two-time Winner - Indy 200 at Walt Disney World (1997 & 1999)

Record-Holder - Fastest Race Lap in an Indianapolis 500 (1996 - 236.103 mph)

Finished 6th in season point total in 1983 Formula One Championship

Finished 3rd at the 1999 IROC season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (7th overall for the season).

1999 Results: Winner, 1999 Indy 200 at Walt Disney World. Winner, MCI WorldCom Long Distance Award for the 1999 season Finished 7th overall in both the Driver and Team Standings.

2000 Overview: Eddie Cheever enters Orlando in hopes of defending his double title of the Indy 200. He will start the year with a complete new package as his #51 Indy Car package moves to a Riley & Scott chassis, Firestone Tires and the new 3.5-liter Infiniti Indy engine.

Milestones in a Quarter Century of Racing Early Racing 1971 - Drove first race at age 13 at Pista d'Oro, Rome. 1973 - Won International 100cc European and Italian Go-Kart Championships. 1974 - Finished 2nd in World Karting Championship. Began racing Formula Fords. 1975 - At age 17, drove Formula Three cars in England with teammate Danny Sullivan. Won 4 of 11 starts. 1976 - Won 3 races for Ron Dennis' Project 4 Formula Two team. 1977 - Became test driver for Ferrari Formula One team at age 19.

Formula One (132 Starts) 1978 - Began driving Formula One for Team Hesketh at age 20. 1980 - Drove for Osella on the Formula One circuit. 1981 - Competed in 14 Formula One events for Tyrrell, with best finish of 4th in Great Britain and three additional 5th-place finishes. 1982 - Highest finish of 2nd in Detroit for Formula One team Ligier. Also won podium positions in Belgium and Las Vegas 1983 - Highest finish of 2nd in Canada for Formula One team Renault. Also won podium finishes in France, Belgium and Italy. Ended season 6th overall in Points Standings. 1984 - Drove two years for Alfa Romeo's Formula One team. Highest finish in Brazil (4th). 1986 - Drove Formula One for Lola Haas and PPG for Arciero. 1987 - Drove 46 Formula One races during three years for Arrows with podium to 89 finishes in Italy and Phoenix. 1990 - Entered first Indianapolis 500 with Ganassi Racing, earning event's Rookie-of-the-Year Honors. Won two podium finishes at Detroit and Toronto, earning the series Rookie-of-the-Year. 1991 - Finished 3rd in Long Beach, 4th at Denver and 5th at Meadowlands on PPG tour.

Indy Racing (81 CART and 33 IRL*) 1992 - Earned front-row starting position at the Indianapolis 500 with a speed of 229.639. Became the 146th driver to lead in the event's history, finishing 4th. Finished 2nd at Phoenix. 1993 - Bumped Bobby Rahal with 16 minutes left in qualification to make the 500 field. Started last and finished 16th. 1994 - Drove for Menard and Foyt during the season. Finished 8th at the 500. 1995 - Drove for Foyt with highest finishes of 4th at Long Beach and 5th at Nazareth. 1996 - Posted 22 of the fastest 50 laps during the 500, setting the all-time fastest race lap record at 236.103. The record still stands and, because of the new IRL machinery, may never be broken. Finished 4th in the race. 1997 - Became the IRL's first owner/driver, forming Team Cheever based in Indianapolis. Won Indy 200 at Walt Disney World and posted five top-10 finishes in the year's eight races. Team accomplishments were noteworthy, as well: second driver Jeff Ward finished 3rd at the 500, earning him Rookie-of-the-Year honors; and the Cheever pit crew won 2nd in the annual Pit Stop Challenge. 1998 - Winner of the 82nd Indianapolis 500, in second year as owner/driver. Highlights include leading 76 laps and being the first owner/driver to win in 22 years. Wins $1.4 million for the win, plus $210,000 for second driver Robby Unser's 5th-place finish. Cheever finished 9th for the season. Teammate Robby Unser takes Rookie of the Year honors for the year. 1999 - Winner of the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World becoming the first two-time winner of the event. In a monumental decision in early April, just prior to defending his Indy 500 crown, Eddie Cheever switched his engine program from Oldsmobile to Infiniti. Cheever would go on to finish 7th overall in both the Drivers and Points Standings for the year and take home the MCI WorldCom Long Distance Award for gaining more positions from start to finish than any other driver in the season. In his rookie season in the 4-race invitational International Race Of Champions series, Cheever finished 7th overall after a spectacular 3rd place finish at his home track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Eddie Cheever: The Indy Racing League's Premier Driver and Owner

IRL Career As Owner As owner of Team Cheever, Cheever has led his crew and teammates (Jeff Ward, Robby Unser and Wim Eyckmans) to eleven (11) Top Five finishes and seventeen (17) Top Ten finishes in thirty-three (33) team starts.

IRL Career as Driver Cheever is tied with Buddy Lazier for with 33 career starts in the Indy Racing League (seconded only to Davey Hamilton's 34 IRL race starts). Cheever has had eight (8) Top Five finishes and sixteen (16) Top Ten Finishes.

Prize Money Earned Cheever has earned $3,615,453.00 in Indy Racing League Prize Money placing him 4th in the category along with three other Indy 500 winners (Brack, Lazier, and Luyendyk) and 1997 IRL Champion Tony Stewart. In 1999, Cheever has received $829,500 in prize money, ranking him 5th overall in the category.

Races Won Cheever is tied in 4th in the number of Pep Boys Indy Racing League races won in a career with three (3) victories. With his victory at the season opener at Walt Disney World Speedway, Cheever is tied in 3rd in the number of wins in 1999.

Laps Completed In his career, Cheever has completed 5,003 laps placing him 4th overall in the laps completed category. This year, he is ranked 6th with 1,680 completed laps (out of 2,032 possible laps).

Races Led Cheever is tied 7th in the overall number of Indy Racing League races led. In 1999, Cheever has led in five (5) different Indy Racing League events, ranking him 3rd overall in the category.

Laps Led Cheever has led over 285 laps in his Indy Racing League career making him 9th in the category. He is ranked 7th overall this year with 111 laps led for the season to date.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Jeff Ward , Davey Hamilton , Bobby Rahal , Mario Andretti , Wim Eyckmans , Robby Unser , A.J. Foyt , Eddie M
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing