IRL: McGehee Texas II preview

McGehee Is Always Memorable When He Races at Texas Motor Speedway; Popular Star Set to Tackle TMS Again Sept. 16 FORT WORTH, Sept. 9 - Good or not-so-good, racing at Texas Motor Speedway always seems to be memorable for Robby McGehee, the ...

McGehee Is Always Memorable When He Races at Texas Motor Speedway; Popular Star Set to Tackle TMS Again Sept. 16

FORT WORTH, Sept. 9 - Good or not-so-good, racing at Texas Motor Speedway always seems to be memorable for Robby McGehee, the popular St. Louis-based driver for Cahill Racing in the 2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series.

McGehee will be set to make another memory when he returns to TMS for the Chevrolet 500 on Sunday, Sept. 16. He'll be behind the wheel of Larry Cahill's black Dallara/Aurora/Firestone #10, which will carry the colors of Parallaxmusic.com, Pringles potato chips and Dollar Rent-a-Car.

The 300-mile/200-lap season finale will be broadcast live at 4:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN and then replayed at 3 a.m. EDT Sept. 22 on the same network.

A live pre-race show, Indy Racing 2Day, will air at 11 a.m. EDT on ESPN2 on race day.

MBNA Qualifying will be be held on Friday instead of Saturday and shown on a tape-delayed basis at 1:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 15 on ESPN2.

Few fans will ever forget the battle that McGehee had with Scott Sharp at Texas Motor Speedway in June 2000. At the time McGehee was competing in his first full season of Indy car racing. Running for Treadway Racing, he finished just .059 of a second behind Sharp in the closest finish in series history. He led four races in 2000 on his way to scoring five top-five finishes, including that second place at Texas.

McGehee was in the spotlight at the end of the Texas race in June this year too, but for an entirely different reason. He was involved in an accident near the end of the race in which he broke his lower left leg in 10 places, suffered a concussion, cracked some ribs and separated his shoulder. While the victory lane celebration was going on, McGehee was being air-lifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was hospitalized for five days before being released to recuperate back in St. Louis.

That would have been the end of the season for many drivers, but McGehee's passion to race is incredibly strong. Less than a month later he was back behind the wheel, even though he had to use crutches to walk to his race car.

And, firmly dispelling any doubters, McGehee put in solid performances despite his injuries. He finished fourth in July when the Indy Racing Northern Light Series made its first appearance at Nashville Superspeedway, and recorded two solid tenth-place finishes at both Kansas City and Gateway.

McGehee burst upon the Indy racing scene with Conti Racing in 1999, and Texas Motor Speedway played an important role in his story that year too. His first appearance in an Indy car was the 1999 Indianapolis 500, where his fifth-place finish earned him that event's Bank One Rookie of the Year honors. Despite missing two races in 1999, McGehee led the Sprint PCS Rookie of the Year standings by one point entering the last race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway. After qualifying eighth for the final race of 1999, an electrical problem on lap 62 handed the Rookie of the Year title to Scott Harrington.

"Obviously, this place has been pretty wild for me," McGehee said. "I have had my best race, where I finished second to Scott Sharp in 2000, and my worst race, where I broke my leg. Regardless, I am still very excited to come back to one of our strongest markets."

Texas Motor Speedway is the second-largest sports facility in the nation, and hosts two Indy Racing events annually. Its 1.5-mile oval has been repaved since the series competed here in June.

McGehee is optimistic about his team's chances.

"I think the Cahill race team has really come together, and we ran very well on the last several 1.5-mile tracks until we had mechanical problems," he noted. "Because we are obviously not in the points race, we would like to just get a good finish, since we will have a long time to think about it in the off-season."

McGehee and all the other members of the Cahill Racing team will be doing their best to make that memory a happy one.

-CR-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Scott Sharp