IRL: McGehee Gateway preview

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 17 - Thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, it won't be hard to spot hometown favorite Robby McGehee when the Indy Racing Northern Light Series makes its first visit to St. Louis for the Gateway Indy 250...

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 17 - Thanks to the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, it won't be hard to spot hometown favorite Robby McGehee when the Indy Racing Northern Light Series makes its first visit to St. Louis for the Gateway Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The Cardinals are participating in a one-race promotion with McGehee and Cahill Racing for that event, which will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 2 p.m. CDT. McGehee's car, which is carrying Atlas Van Lines as its primary sponsor for the race, will be painted in the Cardinals' white and red in honor of the association.

An artist's rendering of how the car will look with its new paint scheme will be displayed on the big video screens at Busch Stadium during the Cardinals' game against the Philadelphia Phillies tomorrow night, Aug. 18. McGehee, the Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500 in 1999 and a life-long resident of St. Louis, will sign autographs at the game too.

As part of the design, the top of each of the Dallara's sidepods will carry stitching to make it look like a giant baseball.

"We're pleased to support Robby McGehee in the Indy Racing event at Gateway International Raceway Aug. 26," said Mark Lamping, president of the Cardinals. "We've been following him for some time now since he's from St. Louis, and I know he's a devoted Cardinals fan. I believe this promotional program is unique, and we're delighted to be involved."

"Atlas Van Lines is very pleased to be associated with both Robby McGehee and the Cardinals," said Greg Hoover, vice president of sales for Atlas Van Lines. "I'm a huge fan of his, and we think he's one of the best young driving talents around today. This particular promotion is being conducted not only by Atlas Van Lines at the corporate level but also by Atlas's local agent, ABC Moving and Storage. Being involved with both Robby and the Indy Racing League represents an outstanding value to us."

"I think it's great that the Cardinals and Atlas Van Lines are getting involved, and I want to thank them for their support," McGehee said.

"I played baseball in high school, so I'm a big Cardinals fan," he added. "Having them associated with my racing program is a big thrill.

"It will be fun to sign autographs in Busch Stadium, too," McGehee said. "My autograph cards are a little bigger than the average baseball cards that baseball fans usually get, but hopefully they'll like to add them to their collections. I also hope they'll come out to Gateway International Raceway the following weekend to see my favorite sport, Indy Racing!"

McGehee, in his third year on the Indy Racing circuit, is one of the most popular drivers in the series. He finished fifth in the 1999 Indy 500 and earned that event's Bank One Rookie of the Year award that year. He led two laps of the 2000 Indy 500 before finishing 21st due to engine problems. In this year's edition of the world's largest single-day sporting event he finished a solid eleventh.

Last year McGehee finished a career-high second to Scott Sharp in the spring race at Texas Motor Speedway by only .059 of a second, which is the closest margin of victory in series history.

So far this season his best finish is fourth, which occurred just last month when the Indy Racing circuit made its first visit to Nashville Superspeedway. McGehee turned in that stellar drive despite the fact that he's been racing with a broken left leg which he suffered in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway this June.

In addition to being a professional race car driver, McGehee is the president and chief operating officer of XRM Research, a computer consulting firm he co-founded.

Larry Albus of LKA Group, St. Louis, coordinated the promotion with the Cardinals, Atlas Van Lines, Cahill Racing and McGehee.

-Cahill Racing

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Scott Sharp