JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 1 - Robby McGehee put Cahill Racing's Parallaxmusic.com/Dollar Rent-a-Car Dallara/Aurora/Firestone #10 into the starting lineup for tomorrow's Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway by qualifying 16th Saturday at an average speed of 216.102 mph.
The competition is especially tight, and the field is the closest of any all year to date. The spread between the pole winner, Jaques Lazier, and the driver who will start last, Billy Roe, is only 1.2392 seconds.
MBNA Pole Qualifying for the race, the inaugural Indy Racing Northern Light Series race at this facility, will be broadcast at 2 a.m. EDT tomorrow on ESPN2. The race itself will be televised live on ABC at 4 p.m. EDT tomorrow. A pre-race show, Indy Racing 2Day, will be televised live at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow on ESPN2.
McGehee and the Cahill Racing team have been struggling to find more speed since they arrived at the mile and a half track, a new venue for the series. Still, they've been in this position before and pulled out a top-10 finish the following day. At the season opener at Phoenix McGehee qualified 16th and finished eighth, and just last weekend at Gateway International Raceway in his hometown of St. Louis, McGehee qualified 18th and finished a solid tenth.
McGehee's first lap in qualifying was run at an average speed of 215.993 mph. His second lap was the one that counted, at 216.102 mph. McGehee will line up on the outside of row eight Sunday, beside Ricky Treadway.
"We haven't been as fast as we wanted to be all weekend," McGehee admitted. "We're a little confused as to what's wrong, but we're missing something big-time. It's something with our motor-chassis package; we just can't go fast. Even when we make the car uncomfortable to drive we can't go fast."
McGehee and the Cahill Racing team will continue to pour over the data generated in the practice sessions Friday and Saturday. Although no more practice sessions remain on Saturday, a half-hour final practice session is slated for 10:30 a.m. Sunday before the 200-lap/300-mile race's 3 p.m. starting time.
"Our race set-up won't be that much different than our qualifying set-up, but the race is always a whole different story," McGehee continued. "We'll try to stay out of trouble and try to come up with some sort of race strategy to try to make the difference. Maybe we'll go out of sequence with the pit stops and try to do something with our fuel strategy. But at this point, we just don't have the speed. I don't know what else to say than that. The Cahill Racing team is working hard; hopefully we'll find out what the problem is and solve it before tomorrow."