August 13, 2000, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course: American driver Memo Gidley achieved his third consecutive points-paying result with Della Penna Motorsports today, finishing twelfth at Mid-Ohio after tenth-place finishes at Michigan and Chicago.
August 13, 2000, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course: American driver Memo Gidley achieved his third consecutive points-paying result with Della Penna Motorsports today, finishing twelfth at Mid-Ohio after tenth-place finishes at Michigan and Chicago. Gidley once again showed considerably more speed on race day than in qualifying, winning his first career Budweiser Hard Charger award for picking up 11 slots from his starting position of 23rd.
"If we ever qualify somewhere in the middle of the pack we'll be dangerous," said team-owner John Della Penna after the race. Gidley agreed: "We've been getting the setup right, but not until somewhere into the race. We gotta get it right sooner."
Gidley praised his Della Penna crew after the race, delighted with the perfect reliability record of his Toyota-Reynard-Firestone through his first three races with the team. I've never had a Champ Car as reliable as the #10 DirectTV car," explained Gidley, who has driven with four different CART teams over the last two seasons. "The car has run every time I've climbed into the thing, including the five hundred mile race at Michigan. So if we can get the setup dialed in a little earlier, we'll be good."
As a sign of solidarity with their driver, Gidley's soon-to-be-nicknamed pit crew sported brand-new "MG" logos on the sides of their helmets today. Fans are currently voting at CART.COM for their favorite of five possible nicknames for Gidley's dedicated crew, and the winning moniker will be announced before next week's race.
One small but crucial part broke off the car today: the steering-wheel-mounted fuel mixture knob, preventing Gidley from making an adjustment to the full-rich setting during the final stint. "On exiting the pits after the second stop, they told me over the radio that we could run full rich to the end. I looked down, and the fuel mixture knob was gone. Nothing was there but a teeny little piece of metal. I tried to turn it for two laps and then left it alone, using the overtake button on each straightaway to maintain my position."
Gidley and the Della Penna team now turn their attention to next Sunday's race at Elkhart Lake, hoping to benefit from their participation at the CART open test earlier this month. "I like our chances for next week" said John Della Penna, and Gidley echoed that sentiment: "We've got to hit Road America hard, because with two full days of testing that's our best shot right now."