IRL: Pikes Peak: Robby McGehee qualifying report

McGehee qualifies 21st Saturday at PPIR driving Beck Motorsports/Parsons Motorsports Marketing's ...

McGehee qualifies 21st Saturday at PPIR driving Beck Motorsports/Parsons Motorsports Marketing's #54.

FOUNTAIN, Colo., June 15 - Left without a ride when Cahill Racing didn't participate in last weekend's Indy Racing League event at Texas Motor Speedway, popular Robby McGehee was picked up by the combined forces of Beck Motorsports and Parsons Motorsports Marketing for tomorrow's Radisson Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway. He was fitted for the team's black and yellow Dallara #54 with a Menard-prepped Chevrolet engine on Friday afternoon, and on Saturday afternoon McGehee qualified 21st for tomorrow afternoon's race.

The event will be broadcast live on ABC at 4 p.m. EDT tomorrow. McGehee is also slated to be one of Gary Gerould's guests on the pre-race show, Indy Racing 2Day, broadcast at noon EDT tomorrow on ESPN2.

With very little practice time prior to the race, the Beck Motorsports team wisely concentrated on its race set-up the moment the car took to the track in the first practice session. McGehee's fastest lap in qualifying was done at an average speed of 169.100 mph. He'll start on the inside of row 11, beside Shigeaki Hattori.

A stiff wind kicked up prior to qualifying. It was strong enough to uproot another team's portable pit tent, and whether or not it blew during a specific driver's qualifying run added a sort of wild card flavor to MBNA Qualifying.

"I was flat out all the way around the track," McGehee said after climbing out of the black and yellow car after qualifying. "There was a huge wind in my face as I went down the backstretch though, which didn't help. With the way the wind is dying down and then speeding up at different times right now, it really is playing a role in qualifying. Unfortunately it didn't help us.

"We may have been too heavy on downforce, but with the wind we had to be conservative and not put it in the wall," McGehee added. "With only two sessions of practice our focus is on the race. We know we have a good race car, and our goal is to be there at the end tomorrow.

"It's great to be working with Greg Beck and Ray Parsons. Greg's engineering skills are well-known, and Ray is working hard to raise sponsorship so we can finish the season. I am really glad to be here and to be working with them."

That feeling is mutual. "Greg and I are thrilled to have a driver of Robby's caliber in the car," Parsons said. "We are extremely optimistic about our chances, both tomorrow and in the races ahead."

McGehee's fastest lap in the two practice sessions before qualifying was at an average speed of 169.534 mph.

"In the first practice session I was just getting comfortable in the car, and the second one was cut short a little by rain," McGehee noted. "The track is fine, although it felt like the bumps in turn two have gotten bigger since the last time I was here.

"My leg is fine; no problem," he noted, referring to the hairline fracture he received in his left leg during an accident on Opening Day for the Indy 500 last month.

"Tomorrow is father's day, and my dad will get here tonight," McGehee noted. "I'd like nothing better than to give him something to cheer about tomorrow afternoon here at Pikes Peak."

-cr/lm-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Shigeaki Hattori