IRL: Indy 500: McGehee back on track

McGehee back on track and searching for more speed. INDIANAPOLIS, May 15 Showing the perseverance that have made both Robby McGehee and the Cahill Racing team favorites among Indy Racing League fans, the Scottrade.com/Dollar Rent a ...

McGehee back on track and searching for more speed.

INDIANAPOLIS, May 15 Showing the perseverance that have made both Robby McGehee and the Cahill Racing team favorites among Indy Racing League fans, the Scottrade.com/Dollar Rent a Car/Indianapolis Downtown Marriott Dallara Chevy #10 was one of 40 cars that participated in practice sessions Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

McGehee, of St. Louis, is on crutches due to a hairline fracture of his lower left leg suffered May 5, the first day of practice for this year's Indy 500. He was treated and released from Methodist Hospital in the wee hours of the morning that night and cleared to drive by the series' doctors the following Monday, May 13.

There was no on-track activity that day or yesterday.

Cahill Racing Team Manager Mike Horvath said the team's car was destroyed in the May 5 crash. But after taking stock of the situation, team owner Larry Cahill and his wife, Gloria, scrambled to find financing and parts from various sources in order to build a new car. Horvath said a tub was obtained from Walker Racing and an undertray came from Foyt Racing, and with various other pieces and the team's own spares the crew assembled a new car for McGehee in just nine days.

Unfortunately most of their rivals were able to use that time to practice, and two dozen of them made qualifying runs on Pole Day last Saturday.

This morning McGehee shook down the new #10 and got busy trying to find enough speed in order to qualify on Bump Day this coming Sunday.

"It's great to be back in the Scottrade.com car, but we have a lot of work to do," he said after today's practice sessions.

"It took me a little bit to get back in the saddle, but I feel very comfortable. We're not where we want to be, but everyone on the Cahill Racing team works very hard, and now at least we have something to work from. Hopefully the rain won't affect that work," McGehee said.

Indianapolis is suffering from an extremely wet May, and occasional rain is predicted on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The weather forecast also calls for temperatures to drop into the 50s rather than the 70s the fans at the track enjoyed today.

McGehee's fastest lap of Wednesday's practice session was run at an average speed of 219.919 mph. The slowest car that qualified for the 500 last Saturday on Pole Day had an average speed of 226.589 mph.

In addition to today's sessions, practice will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior to Bump Day on Sunday, which calls for practice at 10 a.m. and quals from noon to 6 p.m. local time.

"We're pretty far off from where we wanted to be," McGehee said after Wednesday's practice session. "This wasn't how we wanted our month of May to go. We need to find more speed. But I also know that you can't rush things at Indy. You have to make your changes methodically. We ran a lot of downforce today and the car had a pretty big push. We need to dial that push out tomorrow and find more speed."

McGehee downplayed his moxie in driving with broken bones. Last year he also suffered a broken leg and other injuries in a bad crash at Texas Motor Speedway, but he was back racing within a month.

"I drove most of last year with a broken leg and I had my best finishes last year in my first two races back after that crash, so unfortunately driving with a broken leg is nothing new for me," McGehee noted philo sophically. "It really isn't a problem here because the track is as smooth as a pool table. It's not like I'm bouncing around a lot."

McGehee is the 42nd of 45 drivers in the qualifying order for Bump Day on Sunday. That day's activities will be broadcast live on ESPN from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time; on ABC from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then on ESPN2 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Before that McGehee, Gil de Ferran, Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves are scheduled to be Mike King's guests on Indy Racing Live on the IMS Radio Network tomorrow night from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. More information about that can be found at www.indyracing.com.

Other Internet sites with information include www.robbymcgehee.com; www.cahillracing.com and www.restartcommunications.com.

-rm/lm-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Sam Hornish Jr.