Eddie Cheever

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"Eddie Cheever, Jr." redirects here. For his son and racing driver, see Eddie Cheever III.
Eddie Cheever
Eddie Cheever Jr 2009 Indy 500 Second Qual Day.JPG
Eddie Cheever, Jr. at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009.
Born Edward McKay Cheever, Jr.
(1958-01-10) January 10, 1958 (age 56)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United States American
Active years 1978, 19801989
Teams Theodore, Hesketh, Osella, Tyrrell, Ligier, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Haas Lola, Arrows
Races 143 (132 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 9
Career points 70
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1978 Argentine Grand Prix
Last race 1989 Australian Grand Prix

Edward "Eddie" McKay Cheever, Jr. (born January 10, 1958 in Phoenix, Arizona) is an American racing driver who raced for almost thirty years in Formula One, sports cars, CART and the Indy Racing League. Cheever participated in 143 World Championship Formula One races and started 132, more than any other American, driving for nine different teams from 1978 through 1989. In 1997, he formed his own IRL team and won the 1998 Indianapolis 500 as both owner and driver. The team now competes in sports cars.

Early life[edit]

Cheever lived in Rome as a child and was introduced to motorsports at age eight when his father took him to a sports car race in Monza, Italy. He soon began racing go karts and won both Italian and European Karting championships at age 15. He worked his way up through the levels of European Formula racing, teaming with American Danny Sullivan in Formula Three and driving for Ron Dennis in Formula Two.

Formula One[edit]

He made his Formula One debut at age 20 in 1978. After failing to qualify in Argentina, he made the grid at Kyalami for the South African Grand Prix in a Hesketh-Ford. An engine problem forced him to retire after just eight laps. Two seasons later, he became a regular driver for the Osella team, but finished only once in ten races. Switching teams repeatedly as he tried to climb his way up the grid, Cheever had five points-scoring finishes for the Tyrrell team in 1981, and three podiums for Ligier the following year, including a second place at the 1982 Detroit Grand Prix in Detroit.

Cheever driving for Alfa Romeo at the 1985 German Grand Prix.
Cheever driving his 1988 Arrows A10B-Megatron at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The 1983 season proved to be Cheever's high point in Formula One. He signed with the factory Equipe Renault team alongside Frenchman Alain Prost, both of whom were among the year's Championship favorites. Cheever earned four more podiums and 22 Championship points driving the Renault RE30, but the team's disappointment after losing both the Drivers' (Prost) and Constructors' titles late in the season brought about the replacement of both Cheever and Prost. His best finish for Renault was second in the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, while earlier in the season he achieved his highest career qualifying position when he was second to team mate Prost at the French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard Circuit. Unconfirmed rumors had Renault signing Cheever as the French manufacturer was looking to sell more cars in North America, and having an American driver in the factory backed Formula One team would help that cause (there were three F1 races in North America in 1983 - Long Beach, Detroit and Canada).

In six more seasons, he never drove another truly competitive F1 car. After leaving Renault, Cheever had two unsuccessful seasons with Alfa Romeo as team mate to Italian Riccardo Patrese. The thirsty and underpowered 890T V8 turbo engine used in the Alfas generally saw results few and far between, though it was generally believed Cheever outperformed his teammate despite failing to qualify for the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix. Patrese though scored the only podium finish for the team in those two years when he finished third in the 1984 Italian Grand Prix. Cheever had been 3rd with 6 laps remaining but his Alfa ran out of fuel, handing the place to Patrese (the team had set Cheever's 890T engine for speed while setting Patrese for an economy run in the hope of a good finish). 1985 wasn't helped by the team's car, the Alfa Romeo 185T, which proved to be extremely uncompetitive, forcing the team to upgrade its 1984 car, the 184T to 1985 specifications and use it for the last half of the season, though the old car did not improve results despite proving slightly faster as the fuel issue remained. Late in the 1985 season, Alfa announced they were pulling out of F1 at the end of the year, leaving Cheever without an F1 drive, while Patrese went back to Brabham in place of Nelson Piquet, who was moving to Williams.

While racing in the World Sportscar Championship for Tom Walkinshaw Racing's Jaguar team, Cheever raced in only one F1 Grand Prix in 1986. This was for the American owned and sponsored Haas Lola team at Detroit, as a replacement for the injured Patrick Tambay. Cheever actually qualified the unfamiliar Lola THL2 with its turbocharged Ford V6 engine in 10th position. Regular team driver, 1980 World Champion Alan Jones, could only qualify his car 21st. Both Lola's retired with steering damage in the race, Jones on lap 33, Cheever 4 laps later. Ironically, Cheever was only the third choice to replace Tambay for the race. Team owner Carl Haas had originally asked the lead driver in his CART team, 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti to drive. Mario declined however, but recommended his son Michael as a replacement. However, when Michael was unable to obtain a FIA Superlicence for the race, Haas turned to the experienced Cheever, who quickly agreed to an F1 comeback.

For 1987, he was signed by Arrows team boss Jackie Oliver to partner British driver Derek Warwick (Cheever's appointment coincided with the US based USF&G financial group becoming the team's major sponsor). Cheever and Warwick (who had been teammates at TWR the previous year) were evenly matched and would have many on-track battles throughout 1987 and 1988. He secured the third place at the 1988 Italian Grand Prix at Monza; at one stage, he was almost disqualified when his Arrows A10B's 150 liter fuel tank was found to actually contain 151 liters. Luckily, further examination revealed the tank size to be 149 liters and his third place stood. The podium cost him a new pair of sunglasses for the chief mechanic. Monza, won by the Ferrari of Gerhard Berger, was the only time the McLaren-Hondas of Alain Prost and 1988 World Champion Ayrton Senna did not win a race in 1988. Cheever's third place in the 1988 Italian Grand Prix was also the final podium for the turbocharged l4 BMW M12 engine (badged as "Megatron" in 1987 and 1988). At the time, it was the oldest turbo engine in use in Formula One, having been first used by the Brabham team in 1982.

His final podium finish came at the 1989 United States Grand Prix in his home town of Phoenix, where he was involved in a race long battle with the Williams-Renault of former Alfa Romeo teammate Riccardo Patrese for 2nd place, but then had to give way at the later stages of the race when his brakes started to fade (he claimed that one of his front brakes had actually stopped working). Cheever's last race in Formula One was at the very wet 1989 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide. During the last seconds of qualifying, he got out of shape coming out of the Fosters Hairpin onto the pit straight and clouted the wall hard with his Arrows A11-Ford, destroying the rear of the car. In the race he was the last to retire, spinning off on lap 42 after driving for many laps with another car's front wing lodged in his Arrows' sidepod.

During his final season in Formula One, Cheever remained one of the best racers in the business (when he finished, his average finishing place was 7th), but he became increasingly bemused by his inability to qualify well (his average qualifying position was 23rd, compared to Warwick's 14th). His best qualifying position for the season with 16th in both Canada and Hungary, and he even failed to qualify for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where he had finished 3rd the previous year.

In all, he participated in 143 Grands Prix, achieved 9 podiums, and scored a total of 70 championship points. His best year was 1983, when he finished 7th in the championship, scored three podium finishes and one front row start for Renault.


CART[edit]

Eddie Cheever
CART World Series
Years active 1986, 1990-1995
Teams Arciero Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing
Team Menard
King Racing
Turley Motorsports
A. J. Foyt Enterprises
Starts 82
Wins 0
Poles 0
Best finish 9th in 1990, 1991
Awards
1990 CART Rookie of the Year[1]
Cheever driving for Chip Ganassi Racing at Laguna Seca Raceway in 1991

From 1986 to 1988, while still driving in Formula One, Cheever won ten sports car races for Jaguar. In 1990 he moved to the US to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the CART series. In his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500, he finished eighth and was named the race's Rookie of the Year, as well as CART's Rookie of the Year.[1] In 1992, he qualified second for the race and finished fourth. In total, he scored four podium finishes in the series, but never won. Driving for A.J. Foyt's team, Cheever came closest to victory at Nazareth in 1995; he was leading the race on the last lap when he ran out of fuel.


Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League[edit]

Eddie Cheever
Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
Years active 1996-2002, 2006
Teams Team Menard
Cheever Racing
Starts 77
Wins 5
Poles 1
Best finish 3rd in 1996-1997, 2000
Awards
1998 Indianapolis 500 winner

In 1996 the Indy Racing League began, and Cheever moved there from CART. Cheever ran for Team Menard for the three-race series, and at the 1996 Indianapolis 500, he set the fastest race lap to date at 236.103 mph (379.971 km/h). Cheever then set up his own team and had his first race as a driver/owner at New Hampshire later that August, which was the first race of the next season.

In 1998, all the pieces came together for Cheever when he took the biggest win of his career. He started from 17th position and led 76 of 200 laps to win the 82nd Indianapolis 500, despite sliding in the first turn of the race's first lap, helping bring out the race's first caution period. He was the first owner/driver to win the race since A.J. Foyt (one of Cheever's former bosses) in 1977.

Cheever's IRL team, active until July 2006, ran cars for Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier in 2005. Having hung up his helmet in 2002, except for occasional instances such as the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona where he competed in the first race with his new Grand-Am series team, Eddie announced on February 21 he would come out of retirement to run his own car in the IRL's first four races, including the Indianapolis 500. He shut his team down after the 8th race of the season due to lack of sponsorship. The team continues to compete in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

Currently, Cheever is providing television commentary on ABC for IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, a position he has held since 2008 with Allen Bestwick and Scott Goodyear, a former three-time runner-up in the Indy 500 who also drove for Team Cheever in 2001.


GP Masters[edit]

Eddie Cheever, Silverstone GP Masters, 2006.

In 2005 Cheever competed in the GP Masters series which is open to former Formula One drivers over the age of 45. In the championship's first ever event at Kyalami International Raceway in South Africa, Cheever finished in 8th position. Cheever finished 4th in the 2nd GP Masters race on April 29, 2006 at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

In the 3rd GP Masters race on August 13, 2006 at the Silverstone Circuit in England, he took the victory under wet track conditions.


Career statistics[edit]

Complete European Formula Two Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos Pts
1976 Project Four Racing March 752 Lancia-Ferrari HOC
DNQ
9th 10
Hart 420R THR
4
VAL
DSQ
SAL
Ret
PAU
Ret
HOC
Ret
ROU
Ret
MUG
EST
5
March 762 PER
3
Ralt RT1 NOG
8
HOC
15
1977 Project Four Racing Ralt RT1 BMW SIL
7
THR
2
HOC
Ret
NÜR
1
VAL
3
PAU
Ret
MUG
17
ROU
1
NOG
5
PER
Ret
MIS
2
EST
3
DON
2nd 40
1978 Project Four Racing March 782 BMW THR
4
HOC
Ret
NÜR
3
PAU
5
MUG
7
VAL
Ret
ROU
2
DON
Ret
NOG
9
PER
2
MIS
6
HOC
Ret
4th 24
1979 Osella Squadra Corse OsellaFA2/79 BMW SIL
1
HOC
5
THR
Ret
NÜR
8
VAL
Ret
MUG
Ret
PAU
1
HOC
Ret
ZAN
1
PER
5
MIS
6
DON
7
4th 32

Complete World Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WDC Points
1978 Theodore Racing Hong Kong Theodore TR1 Ford Cosworth DFV ARG
DNQ
BRA
DNQ
NC 0
Olympus Cameras Hesketh Racing Hesketh 308E Ford Cosworth DFV RSA
Ret
USW
MON
BEL
ESP
SWE
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
NED
ITA
USA
CAN
1980 Osella Squadra Corse Osella FA1 Ford Cosworth DFV ARG
DNQ
BRA
DNQ
RSA
Ret
USW
Ret
BEL
DNQ
MON
DNQ
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
NC 0
Osella FA1B ITA
12
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
1981 Team Tyrrell Tyrrell 010 Ford Cosworth DFV USW
5
BRA
NC
ARG
Ret
SMR
Ret
BEL
6
MON
5
ESP
NC
FRA
13
GBR
4
12th 10
Tyrrell 011 GER
5
AUT
DNQ
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
12
CPL
Ret
1982 Equipe Talbot Gitanes Ligier JS17 Matra V12 RSA
Ret
BRA
Ret
USW
Ret
SMR BEL
3
DET
2
CAN
10
12th 15
Ligier JS19 MON
Ret
NED
DNQ
GBR
Ret
FRA
16
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
SUI
NC
ITA
6
CPL
3
1983 Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE30C Renault V6 (t/c) BRA
Ret
USW
13
7th 22
Renault RE40 FRA
3
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
3
DET
Ret
CAN
2
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
4
NED
Ret
ITA
3
EUR
10
RSA
6
1984 Benetton Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 184T Alfa Romeo V8 (t/c) BRA
4
RSA
Ret
BEL
Ret
SMR
7
FRA
Ret
MON
DNQ
CAN
11
DET
Ret
DAL
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
13
ITA
9
EUR
Ret
POR
17
16th 3
1985 Benetton Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 185T Alfa Romeo V8 (t/c) BRA
Ret
POR
Ret
SMR
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
17
DET
9
FRA
10
NC 0
Alfa Romeo 184TB GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
AUT
Ret
NED
Ret
ITA
Ret
BEL
Ret
EUR
11
RSA
Ret
AUS
Ret
1986 Haas Lola Lola THL-1 Ford V6 (t/c) BRA
ESP
SMR
MON
BEL
CAN
DET
Ret
FRA
GBR
GER
HUN
AUT
ITA
POR
MEX
AUS
NC 0
1987 USF&G Arrows Megatron Arrows A10 Megatron Straight-4 (t/c) BRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
BEL
4
MON
Ret
DET
6
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
8
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
POR
6
ESP
8
MEX
4
JPN
9
AUS
Ret
10th 8
1988 USF&G Arrows Megatron Arrows A10B Megatron Straight-4 (t/c) BRA
8
SMR
7
MON
Ret
MEX
6
CAN
Ret
DET
Ret
FRA
11
GBR
7
GER
10
HUN
Ret
BEL
6
ITA
3
POR
Ret
ESP
Ret
JPN
Ret
12th 6
Arrows A10 AUS
Ret
1989 USF&G Arrows Arrows A11 Ford Cosworth DFR BRA
Ret
SMR
9
MON
7
MEX
7
USA
3
CAN
Ret
FRA
7
GBR
DNQ
GER
12
HUN
5
BEL
Ret
ITA
DNQ
POR
Ret
ESP
Ret
JPN
8
AUS
Ret
11th 6

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1980 Italy Jolly Club - Lancia Corse Italy Carlo Facetti
Italy Martino Finotto
Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Gr.5 272 19th* 2nd*
1981 Italy Martini Racing Italy Michele Alboreto
Italy Carlo Facetti
Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Gr.5 322 8th 2nd
1986 United Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar
United Kingdom Tom Walkinshaw Racing
United Kingdom Derek Warwick
France Jean-Louis Schlesser
Jaguar XJR-6 C1 239 DNF DNF
1987 United Kingdom Silk Cut Jaguar
United Kingdom Tom Walkinshaw Racing
Brazil Raul Boesel
Netherlands Jan Lammers
Jaguar XJR-8LM C1 325 5th 5th

* Cheever was listed as DNS

American Open Wheel[edit]

(key)

CART results[edit]

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
1986 Arciero Racing March 86C Ford Cosworth DFX PHX LBH IND MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MIS POC MDO SAN MIS2 ROA LS PHX2 MIA
Ret
NC 0
1990 Chip Ganassi Racing Penske PC-18 Chevrolet 265A PHX
7
LBH
Ret
IND
8
MIL
11
DET
3
POR
Ret
CLE
Ret
MEA
Ret
TOR
3
MIS
4
DEN
Ret
VAN
14
MDO
4
ROA
9
NAZ
6
LS
10
9th 80
1991 Chip Ganassi Racing Lola T91/00 Chevrolet 265A SRF
Ret
LBH
3
PHX
8
IND
Ret
MIL
7
DET
12
POR
9
CLE
8
MEA
5
TOR
Ret
MIS
7
DEN
4
VAN
Ret
MDO
8
ROA
7
NAZ
6
LS
6
9th 91
1992 Chip Ganassi Racing Lola T91/00 Ford XB SRF
8
10th 80
Lola T92/00 PHX
2
LBH
Ret
IND
4
DET
11
POR
4
MIL
5
NHA
Ret
TOR
Ret
MIS
Ret
CLE
11
ROA
Ret
VAN
Ret
MDO
12
NAZ
9
LS
4
1993 Turley Penske PC-21 Chevrolet 265B SRF
7
PHX
Ret
LBH
9
DET
Ret
POR CLE TOR MIS NHA 17th 21
Team Menard Lola T92/00 Buick V6 (t/c) IND
16
MIL
Dick Simon Racing Lola T93/00 Ford XB ROA
6
VAN
King Racing Chevrolet 265C MDO
Ret
NAZ
10
LS
14
1994 Team Menard Lola T93/00 Menard V6 (t/c) SRF PHX LBH IND
8
MIL DET POR CLE TOR 27th 5
A. J. Foyt Enterprises Lola T94/00 Ford XB MIS
Ret
MDO
17
NHA
Ret
VAN
17
ROA
Ret
NAZ
Ret
LS
Ret
1995 A. J. Foyt Enterprises Lola T95/00 Ford XB MIA
14
SRF
7
PHX
14
LBH
4
NAZ
5
IND
Ret
DET
Ret
POR
Ret
ROA
17
TOR
11
CLE
22
MIS
Ret
MDO
10
NHA
17
VAN LS 18th 33
Lola T94/00 MIL
Ret

IRL IndyCar Series results[edit]

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Rank Points
1996 Team Menard Lola T95/00 Menard V6 (t/c) WDW
10
PHX
DNS
INDY
11
16th 49
1996–1997 Team Cheever Lola T95/00 Menard V6 (t/c) NHM
15
LVS
25
3rd 230
G-Force Oldsmobile WDW
1
PHX
12
INDY
23
TXS
6
PPIR
4
CLT
6
NH2
9
LV2
21
1998 Team Cheever Dallara Oldsmobile WDW
24
PHX
10
INDY
1
TXS
26
NHM
9
DOV
16
CLT
20
PPI
8
ATL
3
TX2
25
LVS
5
9th 222
1999 Team Cheever Dallara Oldsmobile WDW
1
PHX
17
7th 222
Infiniti CLT
C1
INDY
18
TXS
16
PPIR
4
ATL
6
DOV
21
PPI2
11
LVS
17
TX2
4
2000 Team Cheever Riley & Scott Infiniti WDW
3
PHX
10
3rd 257
Dallara LVS
11
INDY
5
TXS
9
PPIR
1
ATL
21
KTY
4
TX2
2
2001 Team Cheever Dallara Infiniti PHX
19
HMS
9
ATL
24
INDY
26
TXS
12
PPIR
6
RIR
13
KAN
1
NSH
15
KTY
21
STL
4
CHI
3
TX2
18
8th 261
2002 Team Cheever Dallara Infiniti HMS
25
PHX
15
FON
20
NZR
7
INDY
5
TXS
19
PPIR
8
RIR
14
KAN
16
NSH
6
MIS
22
KTY
11
STL
10
CHI
5
TX2
8
10th 280
2006 Cheever Racing Dallara Honda HMS
10
STP
11
MOT INDY
13
WGL
17
TXS
17
RIR
14
KAN
14
NSH MIL MIS KTY SNM CHI 19th 114
1 The 1999 VisionAire 500K at Charlotte was cancelled after 79 laps due to spectator fatalities. Cheever qualified 18th.

CART career summary[edit]

Year Team Wins Points Championship Finish
1986 Arciero Racing 0 0 Unclassified
1990 Chip Ganassi Racing 0 80 9th
1991 Chip Ganassi Racing 0 91 9th
1992 Chip Ganassi Racing 0 80 10th
1993 Turley/Menard/Simon/King 0 21 17th
1994 Menard/Foyt 0 5 27th
1995 A. J. Foyt Enterprises 0 33 18th

Best race finish: 2nd (Phoenix - 1992), best championship result: 9th

IRL IndyCar career summary[edit]

Year Team Wins Poles Points Championship
Finish
1996 Team Menard 0 0 49 16th
1996-1997 Team Cheever 1 0 230 3rd
1998 Team Cheever 1 0 222 9th
1999 Team Cheever 1 0 222 7th
2000 Team Cheever 1 0 257 3rd
2001 Team Cheever 1 0 261 8th
2002 Team Cheever 0 1 280 10th
2006 Cheever Racing 0 0 114 19th
Wins Poles Best Championship Finish Career Points
5 1 3rd (1996–1997, 2000) 1635

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
1990 Penske PC-18 Chevrolet 265A 14 8 Chip Ganassi Racing
1991 Lola T91/00 Chevrolet 265A 10 31 Chip Ganassi Racing
1992 Lola T92/00 Ford XB 2 4 Chip Ganassi Racing
1993 Lola T92/00 Buick V6 (t/c) 33 16 Team Menard
1994 Lola T93/00 Menard V6 (t/c) 11 8 Team Menard
1995 Lola T95/00 Ford XB 14 31 A.J. Foyt Enterprises
1996 Lola T95/00 Menard V6 (t/c) 4 11 Team Menard
1997 G-Force Oldsmobile 11 23 Team Cheever
1998 Dallara Oldsmobile 17 1 Team Cheever
1999 Dallara Infiniti 16 18 Team Cheever
2000 Dallara Infiniti 10 5 Team Cheever
2001 Dallara Infiniti 26 25 Team Cheever
2002 Dallara Infiniti 6 5 Team Cheever
2006 Dallara Honda 19 13 Cheever Racing

International Race of Champions results[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position. * – Most laps led.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wicker, Ned. IndyCar Champion - A Season with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Motorbooks International, 1997, page 12

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Bernard Jourdain
Scott Pruett
Indianapolis 500
Rookie of the Year

1990
Succeeded by
Jeff Andretti
Preceded by
Bernard Jourdain
CART
Rookie of the Year

1990
Succeeded by
Jeff Andretti
Preceded by
Arie Luyendyk
Indianapolis 500
Winner

1998
Succeeded by
Kenny Bräck
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Eliseo Salazar
Scott Brayton Award
2000
Succeeded by
Davey Hamilton