Indianapolis, IN: Treadway Racing drivers Jason Leffler and Robby McGehee completed their qualifying attempts today for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500. The two young guns braved cold weather to land firmly in the "big dance" with ...
Indianapolis, IN: Treadway Racing drivers Jason Leffler and Robby McGehee completed their qualifying attempts today for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500. The two young guns braved cold weather to land firmly in the "big dance" with Leffler standing in 17th position at the end of Pole Day today, and McGehee just ahead in 12th.
Leffler, carrying rookie status, set the stage by being the first in the Treadway stable to take the green flag today. With a smooth run and a four-lap average of 220.417 mph, he put the #50 UnitedAuto Group Special in a good position for next Sunday's race.
"We had a really solid effort," he said. "The UnitedAuto Group Special has been solid all week long. Not super fast-but really solid thanks to the Treadway Racing crew. I have always dreamed about Memorial Day weekend in Indianapolis and this will be a dream come true. But this track is different from any other track and you have to have respect for it. It's tough to get around-no matter what day it is."
Leffler will run practice laps tomorrow afternoon, but must leave early in the week due to his full-time commitment to Joe Gibbs Racing and the NASCAR Busch Series. He will run Saturday's (May 27) CarQuest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and return to Indianapolis that evening to prepare for the Indianapolis 500 on the following day. This is the first time a Busch series driver will attempt both races in the same weekend.
The next to follow in qualifying was Robby McGehee, driving the #5 Meijer/Mall.com/Energizer Advanced Formula G-Force. After having some troubles with handling on the cold track earlier in the day, McGehee took the green flag, only to bring it in before one lap was turned for more adjustments to assure a good qualifying effort and competitive speeds.
With a few minor changes and more practice time, McGehee once again made the run through the tech line on the famed 2.5 mile oval and completed a four-lap average of 220.661 mph.
"I tell you, I've never been so excited to qualify in my life," said the 26 year-old St. Louis, Missouri native. "We've just gone through a little more than I would like this weekend. We waived off this morning due to the fact that the car was really loose and I probably would have put it in the fence. Overall, we are very happy with the final run and we know that our strength is definitely in our raceday set-up. I feel 100% more confident than I did last year as a rookie and I think that will also add to our raceday assets."
The third member of the Treadway talent pool-Brazilian Raul Boesel- encountered a bit of a struggle to achieve that last mile per hour needed to secure his position in the field. After waiving off his qualifying attempt today, the crew has regrouped and after installing a fresh motor in the #55 Epson car this evening, they plan on making their attempt tomorrow at noon.
"It was a bit frustrating today," said the 43 year-old Indy veteran. "We had better speeds later in the day, but the track condition wasn't very good. We made some minor changes, but didn't want to lose an attempt if we weren't sure that they would work. It is always better to be safe than sorry-and tomorrow is another day."