IRL: Indy500: Treadway Racing battles weather to bring it home

Indianapolis, IN: Treadway Racing endured some stormy weather, both on and off the track today at Indianapolis, but kept a cool head in the rain to assure that each of the three team entries had a good shot at the title on the famed 2.5 mile...

Indianapolis, IN: Treadway Racing endured some stormy weather, both on and off the track today at Indianapolis, but kept a cool head in the rain to assure that each of the three team entries had a good shot at the title on the famed 2.5 mile oval, and stayed with pace until the end. With a weather delayed start for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500, team drivers Robby McGehee, Jason Leffler and Raul Boesel finished in 21st, 17th and 16th respectively.

Robby McGehee, in the #5 Meijer/Mall.com/Energizer entry made his move from a starting position of twelfth, all the way to the lead by lap 31. He led two laps before pit stop sequencing caught up with him and pushed him into third. His lap speeds increasing, he positioned himself to battle for the lead, when an engine problem after this third pit stop greatly reduced his power and forced him to the back of the field. "I think we easily had a top three car," stated the 26 year-old St. Louis native. "It was just awesome at the start. We were trying to catch (Juan) Montoya and we definitely had the car to do it. On the restart, we just lost power and tried to fix it about three different times with no luck. We almost had it, and it would have been nice for it to have been here. I just they always talk about the sophomore jinx."

Jason Leffler, in the #50 UnitedAuto Group Special, with a little help from four time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears as a spotter, ran a solid race, but was caught up in the pits under green, when the track went yellow-forcing him a lap down. A rookie, his skill on track improved-as did his speeds-as the race progressed. It was his combination of ill luck and unfortunate timing in the pits that forced him to settle for a very respectable 17th position. Leffler said, "I probably would have run better. I really haven't had much training in an Indy car. If we had started where we ended up, we probably would have had a much better race. My crew did an awesome job and I was able to gain a lot of experience. The car just got faster and faster and I realized how inexperienced I was. I thought if I did this once, I might think about doing it again-but now I definitely want to come back." Leffler did double duty this weekend, driving for NASCAR Busch Series team owner Joe Gibbs in his full-time ride at the Charlotte Motor Speedway before returning to Indianapolis to compete today.

Brazilian driver Raul Boesel in the third team car also suffered some ill luck and minor misfortunes, but stuck it out and maximized the performance of his #55 Epson entry. Like Leffler, he was also caught in the pits under green when the track conditions went yellow. While battling his way through the field to make up for his lost lap, he and crew chief Dave Conti realized that they too were suffering from an unknown power problem. "My engine began to misfire," he said. "There was just nothing we could do. It's definitely not something we expected and no matter how hard we pushed, the car just didn't have the horsepower to be really competitive. We worked so hard to put this deal together at the last minute-it is too bad that we had to end up this way."

Next on the Indy Racing Northern Light Series schedule is the Casino Magic 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Treadway Racing will compete there, and for the rest of the season as a two-car team with Robby McGehee in the # 5 Mall.com entry and Japanese driver Shigeaki Hattori in the #55 car with Epson sponsorship. The race will mark Hattori's debut in the Northern Light Series.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jason Leffler , Robby McGehee , Shigeaki Hattori , Raul Boesel , Rick Mears