McGehee Is Back! He Leads Ameristar Casino Indy 200 and Finishes Tenth Sunday at Kansas Speedway KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 8 - Racing for the first time since suffering a broken leg, a concussion and cracked ribs at Texas Motor Speedway June ...
McGehee Is Back!
He Leads Ameristar Casino Indy 200 and Finishes Tenth Sunday at Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 8 - Racing for the first time since suffering a broken leg, a concussion and cracked ribs at Texas Motor Speedway June 9, Robby McGehee led 11 laps of the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 Sunday at Kansas Speedway in the Parallaxmusic.com/ Kansas City Airport Marriott/Dollar Rent A Car Dallara/Aurora/Firestone #10 .
On lap 200 he took the checkered flag in tenth place, which was his second-best finish of the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series season.
Cahill Racing team owner Larry Cahill orchestrated some brilliant pit strategy to save fuel throughout the race and help his young driver get back into the swing of things after missing two events due to the Texas accident. The Cahill Racing team also gave McGehee a great-handling car, as no chassis adjustments were made all day during pit stops, and McGehee only really adjusted his bars and his weight jacker near the end of the 300-mile test.
"They say that stress makes a bone heal better, so I should be all better now!" said McGehee, of nearby St. Louis, after the race. "I was playing it really safe. The car was great. My knee was vibrating against the steering column, so now I see how I got that one bruise during the crash at Texas. I need to ice down my leg now though, because I think I wrapped it too tight. It got a little numb on me there near the end, but I'm really happy that we led and finished in the top 10. I'll take it! It's great to be back!"
If it hadn't been for Jeret Schroeder's accident on lap 149 to bring out the sixth and final yellow, McGehee would have finished even higher. He had enough fuel to go the rest of the distance at that point. Most of the other front-runners did not, but they were able to take on more fuel under that yellow to negate McGehee's advantage.
McGehee started 14th. Cahill rolled the dice early on his fuel-management strategy when he brought McGehee in for fuel but no Firestone tires on lap 17 under the first yellow, which was for Billy Roe's blown engine in turn two. McGehee noticed a black streak on one of his tires at that point so he came in for a tire change on lap 19, still under yellow, but the tires were fine. The team didn't have much to lose and a lot to gain by pitting early and getting into a different pit stop sequence than their r ivals, as McGehee was 14th before the yellow and 19th for the restart.
It paid off handsomely on lap 71, too. McGehee stayed out on the track as many of the other drivers pitted, and he took the lead on lap 71. Three laps later a yellow was thrown for debris in turn one, which allowed McGehee, the leader, to make an 11-second pit stop under yellow on lap 76 for four fresh Firestones and more fuel. That yellow couldn't have been timed better, as the car's fuel cell was just about dry at that point.
That stop dropped McGehee back to 12th, but he kept recording laps and hanging in there, and on lap 106 he was able to stay out on the track again while many of his rivals pitted under a yellow for Jon Herb's blown engine, bringing him back up to second place behind Buddy Lazier.
Many of the faster cars passed him on the restart, although McGehee ran the fastest during that stint as he did during the entire race, clocking in at 214.3 mph while he was in tenth and 11th place. That was also much faster than he qualified 24 hours earlier.
Scott Sharp spun and hit the wall on lap 137 to bring out the fifth yellow, and when the pits opened and many cars pitted, McGehee once again took the lead on lap 141.
The only bobble came on his last pit stop, which occurred on lap 147. The right rear wheel wasn't quite attached yet when McGehee left the pits. He stopped a few feet down pit lane, the team pushed him back into his pit stall, and Gloria Cahill, Larry's wife, reacted quickly when she responded to the call for a quick-jack, grabbed it off the tire cart at the rear of the Cahill pits and delivered it to the over-the-wall crewmembers. The tire was quickly attached and McGehee was again on his way, this time with all four Firestones. Even with that problem, he didn't lose a lap due to the Cahill Racing crew's quick teamwork.
The car also had enough fuel to go the rest of the distance at that point, but that factor didn't play into the overall scheme of things when the sixth and final yellow waved for Schroeder's accident on lap 149 and the other front-runners were able to pit under yellow. McGehee kept everything rolling through the end of the race, taking the checkered in tenth, still on the lead lap.
The next Indy Racing Northern Light Series race is the Harrah's Indy 200 on July 21 at the third new venue for the series in a row: Nashville Superspeedway in Nashville, Tenn. That race is one day after McGehee celebrates his 28th birthday.