IRL: Indy 500: Robby McGehee stars at 'Marriott Marketplace'

INDIANAPOLIS, May 11 - Robby McGehee and the Cahill Racing Indy car were the featured attraction of "Marriott Marketplace" Wednesday night at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott. The hotel is Cahill Racing's home for the month of May as the ...

INDIANAPOLIS, May 11 - Robby McGehee and the Cahill Racing Indy car were the featured attraction of "Marriott Marketplace" Wednesday night at the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott.

The hotel is Cahill Racing's home for the month of May as the team attempts to make the starting line-up for the 86th Indy 500.

McGehee, of St. Louis, was involved in a crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last Sunday, May 5 during practice for the race. He suffered a hairline fracture of his lower left leg and a small fracture of a bone in his back, but he hopes to be cleared to drive by the IMS doctors on Monday, May 13; resume practice this coming Wednesday, May 15; and qualify on "Bump Day," Sunday, May 19.

He was on crutches on Wednesday at the Marriott appearance but he still wore a big smile as he greeted executives from Marriotts across the nation and some of the hotel chain's best customers. He also signed autographs and posed for photographs with a variety of guests, including the Indy 500 Festival Queen and two members of her court.

His car, which is sponsored by Scottrade.com and Dollar Rent a Car in addition to the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott, was a popular attraction too. Limber guests could climb into the cockpit and pose for a photo, walking away with 5-inch by 7-inch color photographs generated by a computer and a printer in a matter of minutes.

The Coors Indy show car and the Coors NASCAR Winston Cup show car flanked McGehee's car, which enjoyed the premium spot on the banquet-room floor.

Another one of McGehee's show cars is on display at the hotel's main entrance.

The room was broken up into eight areas: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, South Central, Midwest, West, Southwest and Travel/Allied companies. Within these eight areas were cocktail tables for 90 different Marriott properties.

Representatives of each Marriott hotel or resort participating were on hand to tout the attributes of their property and locale to prospective customers who are responsible for booking conventions or other functions. All had gifts of some sort to help break the ice. For example, the New York Marriott Marquis offered Tiffany crystal bowls from that famous Fifth Avenue store; the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center gave away green canvas chairs; the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Tennis Club had books on that California city and the Camelback Inn Marriott Resort Golf Club & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. gave away special desert spa soap with embedded cacti.

Chefs prepared various delicacies for attendees in different stations sprinkled throughout the room, while waiters offered hors d'oeuvres. Drinks were also available at various bars set up to service the crowd.

"We want to thank our best customers for their business, build rapport and showcase this hotel and the city of Indianapolis too," explained Thomas Roth on Wednesday, the opening night of the three-day program. Roth used to be the director of marketing for the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott but has since changed positions and is now the general manager of the brand-new Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale-Plantation Hotel in Plantation, Fla.

"Tomorrow afternoon we'll take a group out to the track for a special behind-the-scenes tour," Roth continued. "Another group will play golf at the Brickyard Crossings, and another group is going to race go-karts at Racers in Union Station. Some of them are going to do the Track Attack program too.

"We have a racing theme, of course, but tomorrow night our guest speaker is going to be Sarah Hughes, the Olympic gold medalist in figure skating. The whole thing took about a year to plan. The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau helped. This is the first time we've held this affair in the Midwest, so it was a great thing for the entire city too."

-rm/lm-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee