McGehee Gets Caught Up in a Crash At Phoenix But Escapes Injury PHOENIX, March 17 - Robby McGehee was involved in an accident on the lap-88 restart of Sunday's Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 Indy Racing League event at Phoenix...
McGehee Gets Caught Up in a Crash At Phoenix But Escapes Injury
PHOENIX, March 17 - Robby McGehee was involved in an accident on the lap-88 restart of Sunday's Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 200 Indy Racing League event at Phoenix International Raceway. Although luckily the popular St. Louis-based driver wasn't injured, the damages to the Scottrade/Dollar Rent-a-Car Dallara Chevy #10 were too extensive to continue and the Cahill Racing team was done for the day.
McGehee had worked his way up from 21st to 15th at the time of the crash and was in line for at least a top-10 finish.
Ironically he ended up exactly where he started in the final rundown for the second race in a row. He started and finished 14th at Homestead, Fla. in the season opener March 2, and he started and finished in 21st spot at Phoenix Sunday.
The accident occurred when Felipe Giaffone, Jeff Ward and Billy Boat went three-wide on the restart, ran out of racing room, touched and started to spin. As everyone got on the brakes, McGehee and George Mack made contact too, launching McGehee airborne for an instant and then into the crumpled cars of Giaffone and Mack that were already against the outer wall in turn two.
Ward wasn't able to continue in the race either, although he made it back to the pits, while Boat regrouped and finished eighth to the race winner, Helio Castroneves.
"It was a real shame, because the Cahill Racing/Scottrade car was running well. We had a great car and we were excited," McGehee said after being examined and immediately released from the infield care center. "I don't know what happened. Basically all I saw was smoke, and when we stopped, Giaffone was against the wall in front of me and Mack was against the wall beside me."
McGehee's race had gotten off to a great start, as he moved up three positions right away. The driver who started alongside him, Shigeaki Hattori, spun on lap four and then banged the wall in turn one on lap 46, but McGehee was able to miss all that.
McGehee's best lap of the race turned out to be his 31st lap, when he ran a circuit at an average speed of 165.405 mph.
He pitted under yellow but lost some spots when the team pitting behind him didn't give the Cahill team enough room, and a hose wouldn't reach the Scottrade car immediately.
By lap 60 of the 200-lapper McGehee was in 17th spot, down just one lap to the leader, and the Scottrade car was performing flawlessly. There was no sign of the engine problem the team had in qualifying, the car's balance was great, the track conditions weren't changing as much as they have in past races here and McGehee was ready to have the race come to him through attrition, smart driving and smart pit strategy.
"Our car was really, really good," McGehee emphasized later.
He moved up one more spot to 16th before John de Vries took a wild ride in turn three on lap 76 when de Vries' car's rear end broke loose.
"He was right behind me; I saw him spin in my mirrors," McGehee noted.
That yellow moved McGehee up to 15th, but then unfortunately the accident occurred on the restart and McGehee's day was done.
The Cahill team will work hard to make repairs and get ready for the next race, which is next Sunday at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. That race will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
With three events the month of March has been extremely busy, but there is only one race on the schedule for April, that being April 21 at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway. Nazareth will be the final tune-up for the most important race of all, the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 26.
For more information, see www.robbymcgehee.com, www.cahillracing.com, www.indyracing.com and www.restartcommunications.com.