Mcgehee Sees Brighter 2002
October 15, 2001 | 7:00 P.M. EST
That’s really no surprise. The first time McGehee went under the knife to repair his broken left leg in June, he was back behind the wheel of Cahill Racing’s No. 10 Dallara-Aurora a month later.
McGehee broke his leg June 9 in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. He was being lapped by leader Greg Ray when the two cars got together and spun into the outside wall, directly in the path of second-place runner Eddie Cheever. McGehee broke his leg in 10 places, suffered a concussion, cracked his ribs and separated a shoulder in the melee.
The next day he had surgery at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Doctors told McGehee he’d need to have another surgery to completely repair the damage inflicted on his leg. Last Tuesday, doctors finished what they started.
“They did an exchange nailing, which is where they take all the old hardware out, re-ream the bone and put new hardware in,” said McGehee, the 1999 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. “That jump-starts the healing process again. There is a very high percentage of people who make a complete recovery with this kind of surgery.”
After his first surgery, McGehee returned to the IRNLS and posted his best finish of the season - a fourth - at Nashville in July. That was the highlight of the season for the 28-year-old.
“I would say, other than our accident, it hasn't been the best year for me,” McGehee said. “I think I finished 16th in the points my first year, and that was new and we didn't run all the races. So it wasn't a good season, but I think we're going to be together next year.”
McGehee finished 16th in the points again this year, but he doesn’t think that’s indicative of what he and Cahill Racing can accomplish. In fact, he sees a much brighter future for the No. 10.
“We've got a lot to build on,” he said. “We've got to the point where we're running competitively now. I feel comfortable with the team. … Next year, saying we're going to run for the championship on a small budget is a little hopeful, but we can run for the Top 5.”
McGehee expects to be walking without the aid of crutches by the end of October, at the latest. That will enable him to get back into shape before the season-opener on March 2 at Homestead Miami-Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
Before that, however, McGehee will be in Miami on his boat to “do all the things that I love to do, but haven't been able to do for a while.”