IRL: Indy 500: McGehee suffers small fractures

McGehee suffers small fractures, not cleared to practice INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 6, 2002 -- Indy Racing League veteran Robby McGehee has not been cleared to practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 after suffering small fractures in his upper ...

McGehee suffers small fractures, not cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 6, 2002 -- Indy Racing League veteran Robby McGehee has not been cleared to practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 after suffering small fractures in his upper spine and lower left leg in an accident during practice May 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Dr. Henry Bock, IRL director of medical services.

McGehee, from St. Louis, was released early May 6 from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and will undergo further evaluation in the next few days, Bock said. McGehee is on crutches and is wearing a soft cast on his left leg.

1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year McGehee became the first driver to hit the new SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, making contact in Turn 3 at 4:36 p.m. (EST). McGehee spun entering Turn 3 of the 2.5-mile oval, hit the SAFER barrier with the rear of the No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone and then continued into the barrier with the right side of the car before coming to rest on the grass strip between the track and the warm-up lane between Turns 3 and 4. The car suffered heavy damage to the rear and right side.

"It's a shame," McGehee said. "I'm sore as hell, but I'll be fine. It hit backward and then flipped on its right side. They say I was in the air, but I can't remember that because it all happened so fast. The fact that I hit the wall that hard, and I don't have a head injury is a testament that the SAFER wall worked.

"I think I would have had a head injury, for sure, without it. I didn't want to be the test guinea pig for the new wall barrier; I was joking about that yesterday, but here we are."

An update on McGehee's condition will be provided when available.

-irl-

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Series IndyCar