CHAMPCAR/CART: Elkhart Lake Walker Racing Preview

GIL DE FERRAN ...

GIL DE FERRAN # 5 VALVOLINE/CUMMINS - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

MEMO GIDLEY # 15 ALPINE - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: ELKHART LAKE

What: TEXACO/ HAVOLINE 200 Round Tenth of the 20-races FedEx Championship Series for the PPG Cup

When: Sunday July 11th , 1999 at 2:00 PM ET

Where: Road America - Hwy. 67 North, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Built near Elkhart Lake, is in Sheboygan County, 60 miles north of Milwaukee and 60 miles south of Green Bay in eastern Wisconsin.

Distance: 202.4 miles, 50 laps

The Circuit: Road America is the longest course used by CART. It combines three straights where speeds reach more than 180 mph and several series of tight, challenging corners with overtaking chances. The track elevation is more than 170ft, providing many excellent viewing spots for spectators. Road America covers 525 acres, it's the most beautiful setting for a race track. It's got many characteristics of a European road course.

Length: 4.048 Mile Road Course. Width: 28-30 feet blacktopped Front Straight: 3,600 feet Back Straight: 2,400 feet (Moraine Sweep) Grade Variances:1 degree to 8 degrees Track elevation: Highest point, turn 1, 175 feet. Lowest point, turn 11A

Turns: 14 turns Corner 1 - 348 radius Corner 3 - 235 radius Corner 5 - 100 radius Corner 6 - 112 radius Corner 7 - 325 radius Corner 8 - 125 radius Corner 9-10 - 525 radius Corner 11 - 725 radius Corner 12 - 170 radius Corner 13 - 550 radius Corner 14 - 200 radius

Broadcast:. ESPN2 CART Qualifying 6:00 PM-7:00 PM ET (07/10)Saturday ESPN2 CART 2Day 12:00 NOON-12:30 PM ET (07/11)Sunday WCUB 980 AM CART Radio 1:00 PM Local- (07/11)Sunday ABC CART Race 2:00 PM ET- (07/11)Sunday EuroSport CART Race 22:00 GMT - (07/11)Sunday ESPN CART Replay 3:00 PM ET (07/12)Monday

1998 Champion : Dario Franchitti

Defending Polesitter: Michael Andretti

Track Records: Qualifying (one lap):1998, Michael Andretti 145.745 mph (99.988 sec) Race:1998 - 202.4 Miles (50 laps) Dario Franchitti 127.145 mph (1:35:30.767)

1999 Cart Point Leaders:

1 Juan Montoya (R) 112 2 Gil de Ferran 87 3 Dario Franchitti 85 4 Michael Andretti 78 5 Greg Moore 69

Elkhart Lake "Fast Facts"

* Road Course: Greatest variety of corners. Limit on top speed of 185-190 mph. * The Setup: Most difficult type of circuit to set up a car for, because there is such a wide speed range: 65- to 145-mph corners. * Mechanical grip: Springing, ride height and road control are extremely important. * Driving Style: You must be as aggressive as possible in the low-speed corners, but change your technique to be very smooth when you go faster * Fuel Consumption: Fuel consumption is an important consideration here and it is not uncommon for the race leader to run out of fuel just before the chequered flag. With the Cart rule of 1.85 miles per gallon of methanol, the cars (full green-flag run) have a max. range of 64.75 miles per tank and on a 4-mile circuit, that's two laps short of a two-stop race. Will have 2 or 3 Pit Stops ? All depends how many yellows and when they happen.

Derrick Walker: Team Owner

"It is always two quite different races at Elkhart, Practice and qualifying is one set of challenges and the race is another set of problems again. Super fast in places and a long lap makes for a limited stratergy. Fuel has to be managed well, engine power is a factor and Gil always goes well there so we could have the what it takes to do well there. What ever we will be doing we will be going for the highest points we can get and I guess 1st place pays the most points."

MEMO GIDLEY (Rookie) # 15 ALPINE - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: ELKHART LAKE

Memo Gidley:

"I feel really good going to Elkhart Lake. I raced twice at Road America and also had a chance to test with my champ car last month. The corners are fast, the track is so beautiful and even better when you feel very comfortable with you car. It was good to have a weekend off, I did a lot of exercises and worked on my fitness program."

Memo Gidley ( Rookie) - 1999 Driver Index Report

Race Qualify Start Finish Race Pnts Total Rank Portland - Oregon 25th 25th 19th 0 0 31st Cleveland - Ohio 21st 21st 11th 2 2 26th

GIL DE FERRAN # 5 VALVOLINE/CUMMINS - HONDA/REYNARD/GOODYEAR

RACE PREVIEW: ELKHART LAKE

De Ferran is 2nd in the PPG Cup standings with 87 points after a 2nd place finish at Cleveland, a victory in Portland the week before., 3rd place in Milwaukee and 2nd in Motegi.

Gil de Ferran:

"Road America is my favorite track. It's a challenging track in many ways and very varied. It's got slow-speed turns, medium-speed turns, and high-speed turns. You go uphill and downhill. The track has a nice "flow" to it. It's hard to explain exactly what "flow" is, but you keep momentum going all the way through the lap, even through there are some slow turns. It's what I call an old-fashioned racetrack. There's not many tracks like Road America anymore. Spa, may be the only other one."

History: 1998, Qualified fifith and finished 16th, completing 43 of 50 laps before retiring due to engine problems. Was running fourth when the problem occured. Sat on provisional pole following first day of qualifying. 1997, De Ferran finished third , his best result at Road America and qualified second in both 1995 and 1996.

Year Start Finish 1998 5th 16th 1997 7th 3rd 1996 2nd 25th 1995 2nd 21st

Gil de Ferran - 1999 Driver Index Report

Race Qualify Start Finish Race Pnts Total Rank Miami - Homestead NQ 25th 6th 8 8 6th Motegi - Japan 1st 1st 2nd 1+16 25 3RD Long Beach - California 7th 7TH 6TH 8 33 2ND Nazareth - Pennsylvania 13th 13TH 15TH 0 33 7TH Rio - Brazil 4th 4TH 10TH 3 36 7TH Madison - Illinois 15th 15TH dnf 0 36 7TH Milwaukee - Wisconsin 16th 16TH 3RD 14 50 7TH Portland - Oregon 3rd 3RD 1ST 21 71 3RD Cleveland - Ohio 2nd 2nd 2nd 16 87 2nd

Biography : Jose Guillermo "Memo" Gidley Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1969 Birthplace: La Paz, Mexico (aboard a sailboat) Residence: San Rafael, Calif.

Born in La Paz, Mexico, Jose Guillermo Gidley, he is a fisherman's son who lived aboard a 1930s cutter "Yo Ho" with two sisters and a dog named Huckleberry , on six out of 12 months every year until he was 13.

"My father was a commercial fisherman for 30 years and split time between fishing, chartering the sailboat and raising a family," He raced sailboats just "to goof around," and when he was 7, raced off-road bicycles. By the time he was 11, he was racing off-road motorcycles. "The racing bug kind of took over," he said. He used to ride on the back of his father's motorcycle, which pulled a trailer carrying his smaller motocross bike.

He saw his first cart race while taking classes at a junior college, and got hooked. Only problem was, he didn't have the money to support his racing habit. That's when his lessons at sea came in handy. "Living on the water taught me to be real independent. There's always a lot of work to do. It gave me self-discipline. I wasn't afraid of hard work and living a different lifestyle. We were kind of like the modern day hippies out there. It was a neat environment to be raised in. It just teaches you not to judge people by just the way they live."

The transition from two-wheel racing to four-wheel racing was rough at the start. Gidley became a mechanic at a driving school at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey and made extra money delivering pizzas from his pickup truck. "The mechanics, we'd sit down for lunch and it was like, I did not know the Andrettis or anybody in cars," Gidley said. "The guys at Russell Racing had the attraction for the driving, the glory, the TV. They all had the idea that maybe they could drive. If I make it to Indy cars, I don't think any mechanic would be able to say they got to do that."

Racing Record:

* 1992 Russell Racing School Champion (Laguna Seca Raceway) In a competition against the rest of his field of mechanics, Gidley won the Russell Racing championship

* 1994 U.S. 80cc Gearbox Kart Champion .

* 1995 U.S. Formula Ford 2000 Oval Course Champion, 3 races victories, Second overall and series "Rookie-of-the-Year" - also named a Team USA Scholarship Winner , test driver and coach for Trackmagic Racing Karts

* 1996 U.S. 125cc Gearbox Kart (USKA) Champion.

* 1997 Season: Won two races in his first year of Atlantic competition, finished second in the Atlantic championship as a rookie to teammate Alex Barron, winning at Toronto and Vancouver, helping Lynx Racing finish 1-2 in the championship, with eight top-five finishes in 12 races. Won the Player's Challenge Championship for Canadian Atlantic races and was second in the KOOL "Rookie Challenge" - won the GT America Stock Car race at Reno Grand Prix.

* 1998 Won three of the first four races and led the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship for most of the season, finally finishing third after mechanical failures at Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Michael Andretti , Memo Gidley , Dario Franchitti , Greg Moore
Teams HART