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Friday, September 13, 2002
McGehee returns to scene of crash

Associated Press

McGehee
McGehee
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.

Infiniti finale
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.

Practice speeds
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.

Sparkplugs
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.