Birmingham: Memo Gidley race report

Doran Racing Adds To Its Streak With Another Top-5 At Barber Motorsports Park It was definitely a roller-coaster weekend for the Doran Racing team at Barber Motorsports Park. The ...

Doran Racing Adds To Its Streak With Another Top-5 At Barber Motorsports Park

It was definitely a roller-coaster weekend for the Doran Racing team at Barber Motorsports Park. The #47 CDOC/Brach's Candy Dallara Ford co-driven by Burt Frisselle and Ricky Taylor qualified 10th and added to the team's front-of-the-pack streak with a 5th-place finish - this is the 7th top-10 finish for the 2-car Doran Racing team so far this season.

"I'm very happy with how the weekend turned out because it feels like the Doran Racing team is really hitting its stride and we can run with the front of the pack week in and week out," says Frisselle, now in his fifth year of Rolex series competition. "Ricky qualified the car and started the race and things were going great until we hit is situation with another car in traffic that put both Doran cars off into the grass. That clogged up the screens on the radiators so we had to stop and clean them out and we did a driver change then as well. It was an out-of sequence stop, so we came in again for a splash of fuel during the first yellow flag after the driver change, went back out in 13th and worked out way up to 5th. The team did a great job and I particularly want to thank our sponsors, CDOC and Brach's Candy, for their continued support."

Frisselle's co-driver, Ricky Taylor, had previously tested at DP car at the Barber Motorsports track, but this weekend marked his debut in competition at the unique facility.

"The race was wild, a traffic jam at 150 miles an hour, but I had fun and learned a lot," says Taylor. "We struggled in qualifying but the team did a great job of getting the car back up to speed and we were having a great race until we and the 77 car got caught in a traffic situation where a car we were passing dodged one way and then another and both of the Doran cars wound up going off into the marbles and grass. There wasn't any real damage, but we had to make an unscheduled pit stop to check. In the end, everything worked out well and we had a good result that was a credit to the great job by the Doran Racing team."

The #77 Kodak Doran/Dallara Ford with Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger at the controls provided a more problematic set of highs and lows by being among the fastest in the final practice sessions before the race and leading three laps during the race with Jaeger driving. But an engine failure due to the temperature spike caused by grass clogging the radiator during the off-track excursion left Gidley stranded by the side of the road.

"All the teams were suffering from a serious lack of grip, particularly wheelspin exiting the corners, but the Doran team put a great setup on the 77 car and it worked," says Jaeger. "The car felt really good on track and while I fell back a couple of places at the start, I was able to make them back up and was battling with the lead pack of seven or so DP cars. I went to pass a GT Porsche and one of the other DP cars dodged up the track and forced the Porsche over toward me and put me off the road into the grass. I only did half a lap with the radiator screen clogged when I brought it into the pits, but the engine was running really hot. Memo got in the car and the engine cooled off and we were still on the lead lap and set to get back into the battle when the fire started in the back of the car. It's a shame, because the Doran team did a great job this weekend and we had a car that could run with the leaders."

Jaeger, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University where he was a member of their Formula SAE team, has a racing resume that includes karting, Sports 2000, Skip Barber, F2000, Star Mazda and the Indy Pro Series. Gidley, the very talented and widely respected American driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now makes his home in Novato, California, has made a name for himself as one of the most committed drivers in the paddock, driving and winning in everything from karts to Indy Cars and stock cars to prototypes.

"I was about fifteen minutes into my stint when I smelled oil smoke in the cockpit and knew we had a problem," says Gidley. "The engine was still running, but I could tell there was something wrong so I coasted out of Turn 3 and down the short straight and parked it out of the way in front of the corner crew. We made a lot of progress on the Dallara at this track throughout the practice sessions and ended up with once again, one of the fastest cars on the track. It's really bitter sweet to have not had the opportunity to finish this race considereing we had a car capable of being on the podium. I'm anxiousely counting the days until our next race at Montreal."

The two cars the Doran Racing team will field at Montreal and throughout the 2008 Rolex Series season look the same, but are different underneath. The #47 car is all-Dallara, while the #77 car is a Doran chassis fitted with Dallara bodywork featuring enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. Both cars are powered by 500 horsepower Roush-Yates Ford V-8 engines.

- credit: memogidley.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Memo Gidley , Burt Frisselle , Skip Barber , Brad Jaeger , Ricky Taylor
Teams Doran Racing