CHAMPCAR/CART: Lynx Racing's Memo Gidley to CART

MEMO MAKES THREE -- LATEST LYNX RACING GRADUATE SIGNS WITH WALKER RACING FOR CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP By signing with Walker Racing to fill in for the injured Naoki Hattori, Lynx Racing's latest graduate, Memo Gidley, becomes the ...

MEMO MAKES THREE -- LATEST LYNX RACING GRADUATE SIGNS WITH WALKER RACING FOR CART FEDEX CHAMPIONSHIP

By signing with Walker Racing to fill in for the injured Naoki Hattori, Lynx Racing's latest graduate, Memo Gidley, becomes the third member of the team's championship-winning driver development program to move up to the CART FedEx Championship. Gidley will join Lynx alumni Patrick Carpentier and Alex Barron on the top rung of the motorsports ladder beginning with the June 20 Budweiser/G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway. He will drive the team's Alpine/Walker Racing Honda in the CART FedEx Championship Series' road circuit and street course races until Hattori's rehabilitation from leg injuries, suffered in the Grand Prix of Miami in March, is complete. "I'd like to thank Walker Racing, Naoki Hattori, Honda, Alpine and Goodyear for giving me this chance, and Lynx Racing for giving me the training that prepared me to take this step," said Gidley. "When I first got in the car at Putnam Park, I felt comfortable immediately. The Honda engine produces an awesome amount of power in a very linear, driveable way, and the Reynard chassis is very predictable and responds well to changes. And not only did the team members make me feel very welcome, but I was impressed with how aggressively they attack everything that needs doing. I know I'm moving up into the most competitive form of open-wheel racing in the world, but I can't imagine a better team to do it with." Gidley's racing resume is a history of victory. In 1992, working as a mechanic at the school by day and delivering pizzas at night, Gidley was the Russell Racing School champion at Laguna Seca. In 1995, driving for the Lynx-affiliated DSTP Motorsports team in the U.S. Formula 2000 series, he was the Oval Track Champion and series Rookie of the Year. In 1997, his rookie year with the Lynx Racing Atlantic team, he scored two victories, on the street courses in Toronto and Vancouver, and eight top-five finishes. He also won an off-season stock car race that year, driving a Wendy's-sponsored Thunderbird owned by Steve Archer to victory in the GT America class at the Reno Grand Prix. In 1998, he won three Atlantic races, including Long Beach in the rain and the ovals at St. Louis and Milwaukee. He led the championship battle for most of the season, finally finishing third after a series of mechanical problems. "We tested Memo recently at Putnam Park, and he impressed us with how quickly he adapted to a Champ Car, his speed and the quality of his feedback," said Walker Racing team owner Derrick Walker. "Like Naoki, he is a rookie and the fits into our long-term goals for the team. And he is a graduate of one of CART's training ground series, racing at the front of the Atlantic field for the past two years." Since his signing, Gidley has spent two days testing at Portland with the team, and is very upbeat about how quickly things are coming together. The effort will continue to be supplied by Alpine Electronics. Meanwhile, Hattori continues rehabilitation efforts in Indianapolis under the direction of CART Chief Orthopedic Consultant Dr. Terry Trammell. He is progressing very well and plans to return to the FedEx Championship Series by Mid-August. Lynx Racing, owned by Peggy Haas and Jackie Doty, is a unique driver development program now entering its ninth year of operation. The team's mission is to seek out young drivers with championship potential and provide them with the training, resources and opportunity to realize that potential and make the jump to auto racing's major leagues. "We're very proud of Memo, and all the drivers that Lynx has been involved with over the past nine years," says team co-owner Peggy Haas. "Ever since Jackie and I started the team in 1990, we've worked to make Lynx Racing a brand name that would alert top teams that this driver is something special. Memo being chosen by Walker Racing is another step toward that goal" Lynx alumni include Patrick Carpentier (1996 Atlantic champion, 1997 CART Rookie of the Year, now racing for Player's/Forsythe), and Alex Barron (Atlantic series champion and Rookie of the Year in 1997, now driving for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers). Lynx Racing's Atlantic drivers for 1999 include Buddy Rice, 23, of Phoenix, Arizona, and Mike Conte, 30, of Seattle, Washington. Rice was Gidley's teammate in 1998, and quickly established his talent by wining the pole at his first-ever Atlantic race at Long Beach, and winning his second race, also from the pole, at Nazareth. Conte drove for a different team last season, scoring four top-ten finishes. Earlier this year, Conte scored a podium finish in the Superflow 12 Hours of Sebring driving a GT class Porsche 3.8 RSR entered under his own Contemporary Motorsports banner. Lynx also sponsors a car, fielded by the Kent Stacy's championship-winning S3 Racing, for Sara Senske, in the Star Formula Mazda Championship. Senske, a 20-year old college student from Kennewick, Washington, is the first female driver in the team's history, and also competes in the new Women's Global GT Series. "We knew Memo was a winner when we picked him to drive for us, and we're happy that Derrick Walker agrees," says Lynx co-owner Jackie Doty. "Lynx is like a high-tech university with a family atmosphere and a spiritual center. We teach the drivers about car setup and race strategy, but we also instill in them a humanist, grounded attitude that helps them keep that winning state of mind when they take the next step up the ladder. It's a big part of why Lynx, and Lynx drivers, are so successful."

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Series Atlantic , IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron , Dan Gurney , Buddy Rice , Naoki Hattori