CHAMPCAR/CART: Gidley optimistic at Houston

September 30, 2000, Houston, Texas: American driver Memo Gidley heads into tomorrow's race with a high level of confidence in his car, despite qualifying 22nd with a time of 60.419 seconds. According to Gidley, open road during qualifying was...

September 30, 2000, Houston, Texas: American driver Memo Gidley heads into tomorrow's race with a high level of confidence in his car, despite qualifying 22nd with a time of 60.419 seconds. According to Gidley, open road during qualifying was a rare commodity, and the car is considerably faster than the timesheet would suggest.

"The car has gotten a lot better," said Gidley after qualifying "In Vancouver, where we had one of our best races, we were never able to improve the setup Friday morning. Here in Houston, we've been doing better and better every session, and the car is actually quite a bit faster than we were able to show on the timing board today."

"Being positioned near pit-in really caught us out during qualifying. From our pit box, you can't beat anybody onto the track, so in order to get a decent gap you need to wait a half lap before going out. The window for flying laps on the second set of tires was very short today because of red flags, and so we had only two or three minutes of open road. When the red flag flew I was three quarters into a lap that was four-tenths faster than my official time, so there's plenty more in the car."

Gidley's team took a short break to sing happy birthday to their driver after qualifying, and he received several presents, including a shiny new BMX cruiser bicycle. "It's good having a birthday during a race weekend," exclaimed Gidley, "because you get to celebrate three or four times."

After the brief party, Gidley described his experiences switching from a 900 horsepower Toyota to an ordinary rental car on the narrow streets of downtown Houston. "There are a lot of ninety degree turns on this race course, and you really do feel like you're on the street. You see the city blocks flying by, and it takes a lot longer to cover the same territory in the rental car on the way back to the hotel!"

"My favorite turns are 1 and 8. Turn 1 is requires hard braking and is off-camber, very bumpy, and really challenging. The car's pretty loose going through Turn 8, and you're balancing the car on the edge- it's a lot of fun. "If you can have a fast car and somebody makes a slight mistake and gets off-line a little, you can zoom right by. So I'm looking forward to a fun race tomorrow."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley