ST. LOUIS, Mo., Aug. 25 - Hometown favorite Robby McGehee will be in 18th spot tomorrow at 1:57 p.m. when Grand Marshal and Honorary Starter Al Unser tells him and the 22 other drivers entered in the Gateway Indy 250 Indy Racing League event...
ST. LOUIS, Mo., Aug. 25 - Hometown favorite Robby McGehee will be in 18th spot tomorrow at 1:57 p.m. when Grand Marshal and Honorary Starter Al Unser tells him and the 22 other drivers entered in the Gateway Indy 250 Indy Racing League event at Gateway International Raceway to start their engines.
At that moment McGehee will flip the switch to start his Oldsmobile Aurora-powered Cahill Racing Dallara #10 and then roll off to begin the 200-lap/250-mile race, which will be broadcast live on ESPN.
His car has the most talked-about paint job in the garage area, as it's painted in the colors of McGehee's favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals. That's all part of a promotion by his primary sponsor for this race, Atlas Van Lines and ABC Moving and Storage, and his other sponsors: Parallaxmusic.com, the Sheraton St. Louis City Center Hotel and Suites, and Do llar Rent-a-Car.
Qualifications were rained out Saturday afternoon so the starting lineup was determined by entrant point standings. That put McGehee on the outside of row nine in the 23-car field beside the driver whose team is pitted beside him, Alex Barron.
The brake-line problems that the team experienced in practice Friday were solved for Saturday afternoon's practice session, and McGehee was able to get 52 laps in the books Saturday. His best speed was run late in the session when he turned in a time of 27.2910 seconds, which computes to an average speed of 164.890 mph. That lap was the 14th-best of the day when everyone's speeds were compared.
"We're OK; we're just one [practice] session behind," said McGehee. Like the event's sanctioning body, he is making his first appearance on the oval at Gateway this weekend.
Due to the brake-line problems, McGehee was only able to get in a few laps of practice on Friday.
"That put us behind the eight-ball," McGehee said on Friday. "We were behind even before we started because we weren't able to test here, but now we're really behind."
Morning practice sessions were rained out on both Friday and Saturday, as was the full-tank session set for 5 p.m. Saturday.
Although disappointed by the lack of laps he got Friday, McGehee remained optimistic. "If any team can regroup from this, it's the Cahill Racing team," he said. "The guys are great and we have a great engineer, so we'll just have to regroup. Carrying through with the baseball theme that we have here this weekend with the Cardinals and Atlas Van Lines, I guess I'll just say, 'It's not over until it's over, right?'
"Set-up is very important at this track," he added. "Even though I'm from St. Louis, this is the first race I've been in here on the oval. I've raced on the road course and I've tested a Formula 2000 car on the oval here, but this is the first time I've been in a race on the oval. It's a very challenging track. Turns one and two are especially tight."
McGehee's schedule, which has been revised so many times due to rain that everyone has lost count, shows a practice session Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; a live appearance on Indy Racing 2Day at 10 a.m. and a driver's meeting at 10:30 a.m. before the pre-race drivers' introductions begin at 1:25 p.m.
The weather forecast for Sunday is very promising, with no rain predicted and temperatures in the mid-80s.