Saturday notebook: Hot, hot, hot...

With temperatures soaring over 100 degrees, Saturday's racing activity at Kansas Speedway took a toll on the spectators.

Saturday notebook: Hot, hot, hot...

The O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race attracted a crowd of 60,000 fans to the 75,000-seat oval, but shortly after the green flag dropped, that number began to shrink as fans tried to find a way to deal with the heat.

According to track officials, 220 people were treated throughout the various emergency medical centers by 4:30 p.m., with 73 heat-related. Among that number, three drivers in the NCTS race were treated for heat-related problems and released. Four people out of the 220 were transported to area hospitals for additional observation.

For Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 200 Indy Racing League race, the track will increase the number of mist tents, provide free water and sunscreen to the sun-scorched spectators.

When this race was officially announced last year, IRL officials liked the chance to build a traditional date near the July 4 holiday. With heat becoming a factor, however, could there be lights in the future for this race?

"Lights are in the future," said track vice president and general manager Jeff Boerger. "We have the infrastructure in place for lights in the future."

Sunday's IRL race is a sellout at 75,000 because it was part of a season-ticket package that also includes the September 30 NASCAR Winston Cup race. But with the high heat forecast for Sunday, some of those fans may decide to stay out of the heat and catch this race on television.


Scott Sharp and Eddie Cheever used to be friends, but after a fierce battle that resulted in some dangerously close racing at Texas Motor Speedway last month, Cheever no longer considers Sunday's IRL pole winner a pal.

So, as the two sat side-by-side in Saturday afternoon's media conference after Sharp won the pole and Cheever qualified second, there was a bit of tension present as Cheever never even looked at Sharp during the question and answer session.

At one point, Cheever told a questioner, "Either ask a question for me or ask a question for Scott - no more of these Scott and Eddie questions."

After the press conference ended, Sharp laughed about the situation.

"We're like brothers," Sharp said with a laugh. "Best friends. With Eddie, you never know."


Sam Hornish Jr leads the IRL by 50 points over Buddy Lazier and will start Sunday's Ameristar Casino Indy 200 in fifth place after qualifying at 213.226mph.

"We're still working on it (finding speed) a little bit," Hornish said. "We usually don't find it until race morning anyway. Hopefully we'll find it tomorrow morning. We're making steady gains each time we go out. We're not quite where we want to be. We'll try to keep everybody else guessing to see how fast we'll be.

"As far as the heat goes, it's going to be extremely hot tomorrow. You just have to try and stay as hydrated as possible."


Robby McGehee has to use crutches to walk as his broken left leg suffered in a crash at Texas Motor Speedway on June 9 continues to mend. But, the driver was able to qualify 14th in his first IRL race since that crash.

McGehee ran a lap at 210.850mph in a Dallara-Oldsmobile Aurora.

"The car went to a push and we're about one mph off where we practiced at," McGehee said after his attempt. "The track is a little slippery. That's due to push, and it's slippery in general partly due to the truck race and mostly due to the heat. The tyres aren't coming up to speed right away.

"My leg is feeling great, and my sore throat is better, too. I can talk today. I feel good. My biggest problem is the same as everyone else's - the heat. I don't think we're going to set the world on fire my first race back, but overall I think we're doing pretty well. The facility is awesome. It's second to none. I'm really happy to be here."

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Qualifying: Sharp sweats to pole

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