IRL: Indy 500: Robby McGehee race report

McGehee drops out of indy 500 with steering problems; finishes 25th. INDIANAPOLIS, May 25 -- Robby McGehee ended up 25th in the 87th annual Indianapolis 500 Sunday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, completing the same number of laps...

McGehee drops out of indy 500 with steering problems; finishes 25th.

INDIANAPOLIS, May 25 -- Robby McGehee ended up 25th in the 87th annual Indianapolis 500 Sunday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, completing the same number of laps as his fellow last-row starter, Airton Dare. Both completed 125 laps around the historic 2-1/2-mile oval to winner Gil de Ferran's 200 circuits.

McGehee and his Panther Racing/Pedigo Chevy Dallara Chevy #44 dropped out with steering problems that actually started when McGehee and some of his fellow drivers took evasive action to avoid Sarah Fisher's accident on lap 15.

"When Sarah Fisher's engine let go and she crashed, we all got on the brakes real hard," explained McGehee, who is from St. Louis. "I heard that A.J. Foyt IV didn't have radio contact; he didn't mean to, but he just about went over me trying to take evasive action there in Turn 3. He clipped my left front and damaged my steering, and it just got progressively worse until the Panther Racing/Pedigo Chevy was undriveable, so we brought it in."

McGehee immediately reported that his car "didn't feel right" after Fisher's accident, and the crew brought him into the pits to examine the left-front suspension and change that Firestone Firehawk tire at that time. The damage wasn't evident, however, so the team soldiered on until a bearing in the steering rack finally weakened to the point that it eventually broke, ending the team's day.

"The car was fine at first; I think we had way too much downforce, but I was just biding my time, trying to make it to the end," McGehee said. "I was having a hard time getting a read on the car the whole way though because of the steering problem.

"But it was a pleasure working the Panther Racing/Pedigo Chevy crew and the guys from Sinden Racing Services who were our pit crew today," the always gallant McGehee noted. "I'm just glad that we were here and able to participate. There's nothing like the Indy 500. It's an honor to race in it, and I have to thank everyone at Panther Racing for giving me this opportunity."

McGehee started 31st and got as high as 23rd, which is where he was running when he dropped out. He spent most of the race right behind Shinji Nakano, who went on to finish 14th, four laps down.

The race was broadcast live on ABC.

As it turned out, the four laps that McGehee turned in when he qualified on Bump Day last Sunday were the most consistent laps of anybody in the field, which earned him a $5,000 bonus from Buildings to Go, 8811 Robbins Road in Indianapolis.

Russ Sutton, that company's chairman, and Randall Pike, its president, made the check presentation to McGehee and Gary Pedigo of Pedigo Chevrolet on pit lane Thursday afternoon during Carb Day activities.

McGehee's four qualifying laps were run at average speeds of 224.446 mph, 224.512 mph, 224.443 mph and 224.571 mph for an overall qualifying speed of 224.493 mph, which was good enough for the 31st starting position.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Sarah Fisher , Airton Daré , Gil de Ferran , Shinji Nakano , A.J. Foyt
Teams Panther Racing