Memo Gidley had a lousy morning and a nasty afternoon today at Gateway, greeting the wall in the a.m. and fighting an ultra-loose backup car in the p.m. Gidley's troubles began in the final minute of the morning warmup, as he closed on the ...
Memo Gidley had a lousy morning and a nasty afternoon today at Gateway, greeting the wall in the a.m. and fighting an ultra-loose backup car in the p.m.
Gidley's troubles began in the final minute of the morning warmup, as he closed on the slower car of Luiz Garcia in the final turn. Gidley went inside to pass, Garcia kept his line, and both cars ended up in the concrete. The two drivers emerged unscathed from the accident, shook hands, and both chalked it up as an unlucky break. The incident forced the pair of drivers to start the race in their backup cars, and neither car performed adequately in the race.
Gidley's Red Menace pit crew did an admirable job of quickly preparing the backup Reynard, number 020, which had last seen competition in the Michigan 500. Starting the race on a car he had never driven at Gateway, Gidley passed several cars for position in the opening laps, rocketing forward from his starting position of 19th. Just as he settled into 16th position behind Max Papis, Gidley began to feel the backup car deteriorate, and the rear was extremely loose by lap 30.
In his own words: "The car was pretty good in the beginning, I was able to pass a lot of people. It was such a huge swing down to being two and a half seconds slower per lap, that I wonder if something happened to the car. I did everything I could to make adjustments in the cockpit to get the car to hook up and be less loose. It deteriorated more and more, and so we came into the pits a couple of extra times to try and fix the car with mechanical adjustments beyond what I could do in the cockpit."
"Once you're running almost ten percent slower than the leaders, you can never keep up. You go offline to avoid interrupting anybody else who's racing for position, and you pick up marbles on your tires which makes matters even worse. I was just trying to hang onto it. You want to stay out there, but you can't do that at the expense of others. The first time I heard talk of ending the race was as I entered the pits for the final time."
"It's disappointing. You never want to end a race this way. Even though it was so hard for me to drive and hard for everybody to watch, I still think we can learn from it and make it better for the next race. We will soldier on."