Friday, September 13, 2002
McGehee returns to scene of crash
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Robby McGehee will drive the third Red
Bull Cheever Racing entry in the IRL season-ending Chevy 500 on
Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
McGehee, without a full-time seat since Larry Cahill parked his
team after the Indianapolis 500, got his ride for this week after
sending an e-mail asking Eddie Cheever about driving one of his
Infiniti-powered cars that won't be used on the circuit next year.
''This probably my best opportunity and I have to take advantage
of it,'' said McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year
after he started 27th and finished fifth.
McGehee will drive the No. 53 car for the Red Bull team, joining
Cheever and rookie Buddy Rice, who replaced rookie points leader
Tomas Scheckter, who after wrecking six cars in 12 races suddenly
quite driving last month.
It was at Texas Motor Speedway were McGehee had his best finish
-- and his worst accident.
In June 2000, McGehee finished as the runner-up to Scott Sharp,
by a margin of .059 seconds -- about a half a car-length. Last
summer, McGehee was clipped causing a horrific accident that left
him with a broken left leg and knocked front-runners Greg Ray and
Eddie Cheever Jr. out of the race.
''I can't remember anything about that night,'' said McGehee,
who broke the leg again in May when he was the first driver to hit
the new soft walls at Indianapolis. ''All I now is what I've seen
on the video.''
McGehee's best finish in eight starts for three teams this
season was ninth at Richmond.
A.J. Foyt IV earned the pole for the Infiniti
Pro Series season finale that will be run Saturday.
Foyt, the series points leader, had a qualifying lap of 177.832
mph. His 238 points are 28 more than Arie Luyendyk Jr., who starts
third in the 14-car field after a lap of 174.228 mph.
''I'm going to come in tomorrow's race just like I do every
race, just focus on winning the race,'' said Foyt, the grandson of
the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner.
Foyt has won three of the six races in the first-year of the
IRL's developmental program.
''If it comes to a decision I've got to make on the track where
it could be questionable to crash or finish second or third, of
course I'm going to make the right judgment and not take a chance
on crashing and running the points championship,'' he said.
Ronnie Johncox (176.228 mph) starts on the front row with Foyt.
Vitor Meira, who has two top-10 finishes in
his three starts for Team Menard, turned the fastest lap of the two
IRL practice session Friday with a speed of 221.457 mph.
Meira and Eddie Cheever Jr. (221.199 mph) were the only drivers
to break the 221 mph barrier.
Sam Hornish, the points leader, had to go to a backup car after
a broken oil-line connector caused his primary car to catch fire.
His best lap was 219.675 mph, still 11th best.
Rookie Dan Wheldon, in his second race for the
Penzoil Panther Racing brushed the wall during practice. But,
unlike his teammate Hornish, his car was repairable. ... Sarah
Fisher missed the afternoon practice because a welded seam split in
the oil tank and took longer than expected to fix. She had a lap of
219.879 mph, which was the fastest in the first group on the track
earlier in the day.