IRL: Indy500: Memo Gidley looks at qualifying

9:45 PM, May 19th, 2000: Garage C12, Gasoline Alley, Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Memo Gidley struggled again in practice today, running over 100 laps and yet failing to break 214 miles per hour. Although Gidley arrived at Indy on Monday with...

9:45 PM, May 19th, 2000: Garage C12, Gasoline Alley, Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Memo Gidley struggled again in practice today, running over 100 laps and yet failing to break 214 miles per hour. Although Gidley arrived at Indy on Monday with over 500 miles of recent oval experience, he has been unable to run laps anywhere close to the leaders; in fact, he has not been able to match the top speed he achieved in his Indy rookie test in the same car six weeks ago.

"The rookie test is a different deal," Gidley explains. "They use different tires, a different motor, a different setup, and the weather conditions were quite different, so you can't really gauge off that experience. If we had ended yesterday afternoon, I would have been disappointed, because the car was handling so poorly. The adjustments we made today produced only a little more speed, but made the car feel much better, I mean I was actually sort of enjoying driving it today [laughs.] It's tough, we have a 1999 chassis, no engineering notes from previous races with this chassis, limited funds and limited staff."

"I don't want to sugarcoat the situation: tonight I don't think this car can be made fast enough to make the show. If we were at 218 mph, maybe we would have a chance. However, I still have hope. Everything that's happened to me has always happened at the last minute. With the miles I've logged in the last week, and the dedicated people I have working with me, I think we have a better shot than anyone else to benefit from a situation where a 2000 car becomes available."

"When you're driving a car that's older and ill-handling, you're working pretty hard out there. It's not like cruising on the freeway, I mean it's pretty exciting, at least turn one is. I've driven cars where you're 18th on the grid, and you're working hard in the cockpit, and then a setup change is made and suddenly you're 10th and actually having an easier experience in the driver's seat."

"If we have to walk away from this effort without making the show, I can live with that. But I will do everything I can until the last possible moment to try to make it happen. Not only for my own benefit: I mean, kids have put in literally ten bucks, another bunch of kids sent me six cans of grape juice. A lot of people really care about this effort. It's a good feeling, people helping out simply because they want to go racing, and they want to be a part of it. They're just like me, really."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley