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MAY 7, 2002

Indianapolis "soft walls" helps save McGehee

INDY RACING LEAGUE racer Robby McGehee began his Indianapolis 500 testing program with a major crash which demolished his Cahill Racing Dallara-Chevrolet. McGehee crashed at around 220mph into a section of the new "soft wall" at The Brickyard. Although it seemed that he was unhurt in the huge crash, McGehee later went to hospital and was found to have suffered small fractures in his upper spine and lower left leg.

"The fact that I hit the wall that hard and I don't have a head injury is a testament that the safer wall worked," he said.

McGehee's crash came just three hours into the first practice sessions for this year's Indianapolis 500. The IRL later said that the crash (which was two separate impacts with the wall) registered 40G and 72.7G. These figures are much less than similar crashes in the past.

Scott Sharp set the fastest laps of the day with a best of 227.571 mph.