Sunday, August 27, 2000

Five Questions with: Eddie Cheever

By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Eddie Cheever, the 1998 Indianapolis 500 champion, is among drivers in today's Belterra Resort Indy 300 race at Kentucky Speedway. Cheever, 42, one of the best-known and most colorful drivers on the Indy Racing League circuit, is an American but grew up in Rome. He speaks three languages fluently and has a variety of interests, including military history.

        1. You speak English, French and Italian. Which is the easiest and which the hardest for you?

Italian is probably my easiest, since I grew up there. I think in Italian. French is the hardest. She has to be very pretty for me to speak to her in French. (Note: Cheever is a single parent of two).

        2. As a military history buff, who are your favorite generals?

Caesar, because he was a politician at the same time. I also think Marshall was great. What he did after World War II was astounding, rebuilding Europe. I think America has had some awesome military leaders. ... I can also tell you the worst general. Hitler. He was a fool. Everything he did, military-wise, he was a fool.

        3. You've raced Formula One and been around the world. Any place that really struck you?

        America. What we've done here as a race team, with a middle-aged driver going through a really bad spell in his career and trying to raise money, and winning the Indy 500. ... it couldn't have happened anywhere else. Americans will listen to any crazy scheme.

        4. Your list your favorite actor as Steve McQueen and your favorite as “The Great Escape.” What it is about him and that movie?

I like the fact that he was so resilient. He just kept having to make a run at it.

        5. Having won the ultimate race, the Indy 500, what else is left for you to do?

Win it again. Inevitably now, when I'm introduced to somebody on a radio show or a TV show, the first thing they'll say is "Indianapolis 500' winner, and then my name. My family's name is on the Borg-Warner Trophy, and that trophy will be here long after I'm gone. That's something I'm very proud of.


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