McGehee finishes 13th in the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 Sunday in Kansas. KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 7 - Robby McGehee battled the winner of the first Texas race, Jeff Ward, at the checkered but the popular driver from St. Louis had to settle for...
McGehee finishes 13th in the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 Sunday in Kansas.
KANSAS CITY, Kan., July 7 - Robby McGehee battled the winner of the first Texas race, Jeff Ward, at the checkered but the popular driver from St. Louis had to settle for 13th Sunday in the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 Indy Racing League event at Kansas Speedway.
When the leader, Tomas Scheckter, suffered a cut tire and hit the wall just 10 laps from the finish there were four drivers battling for position two laps down: McGehee in the Norwalk Furniture/Parsons Motorsports Dallara Chevy #54 field by Beck Motorsports; Raul Boesel's Dallara Infiniti; and G-Forces driven by Ward and Sarah Fisher. That quartet gave it their best shot just like they were dueling for the lead at the end, and McGehee came up 13th overall after starting 22nd.
"On full tanks and in traffic the Norwalk Furniture/Parsons Motorsports car had a big push, but as it lightened up it got better," McGehee said after the race. "The Beck Motorsports team worked very hard all weekend. Our Firestone Firehawks were great despite the heat. I have blisters on my hands and my ears hurt because my helmet padding was too tight. It was a hot day for everyone, but the car is in one piece and now we'll try to go on to Nashville."
McGehee finished in the highest position he climbed up to during the race, which couldn't be said for many drivers who ran higher but finished further back. Soldiering on was the order of the day, and both McGehee and the rest of the Beck Motorsports team buckled down and did their best.
The push in traffic and right after pit stops was a constant problem, however. McGehee radioed that he had a big push in traffic as early as lap five, but by lap 30 he said the car was very good as its fuel load burned off. He didn't want any chassis changes when the team made its first pit stop under a yellow for debris on lap 33. At that point he was 20th, the last driver on the lead lap, and, in a foreshadowing of things to come, Ward was right in front of him at that point too after starting 14th.
McGehee worked with his bars in the cockpit and he experimented with fourth and fifth gear on the straightaways at various times during the race. The team made its second pitstop for fuel and tires on lap 68 under another yellow for debris, and at that point they also gave the front wing a half-turn on both sides.
Fisher was ahead of McGehee on that restart but he passed her quickly. McGehee ran as fast as the leaders at various points during the race but he couldn't stay with them on full tanks of fuel.
At the halfway mark McGehee was in 16th spot, the last driver on the same lap as the leader, Scheckter. At that point he said the car wasn't pushing, and was in fact very neutral.
He needed fuel, though, so team manager Greg Beck brought him in for scuffed tires and fuel on lap 107 under a yellow to tow in Rick Treadway's car.
The team made its only stop under green on lap 156, in which the Norwalk Furniture car got another set of sticker Firestone Firehawks and fuel. That made it good to go to the finish, and McGehee took the checkered to earn enough points to put him in 17th place overall in the driver point standings, right in front of Robbie Buhl. Beck Motorsports is in 24th place in the entrant standings, right behind the team McGehee drove for at the beginning of the season, Cahill Racing.
The next IRL race will be at Nashville Superspeedway on July 20, the same day that McGehee turns 29. McGehee had his best finish of the season last year at Nashville, placing fourth. It will be the last IRL race under the lights this year.