Gidley & McDowell In Top Ten At Grand Am Miami 300 Homestead/Miami, FL. March 6, 2005: Driving the number 19, Air Force Reserve/Make A Wish BMW powered Riley Daytona Prototype, Memo Gidley started The Grand Am Miami 300 in eight place. The day...
Gidley & McDowell In Top Ten At Grand Am Miami 300
Homestead/Miami, FL. March 6, 2005: Driving the number 19, Air Force Reserve/Make A Wish BMW powered Riley Daytona Prototype, Memo Gidley started The Grand Am Miami 300 in eight place. The day before the car ran in forth place for the final practice session prior to qualifying. So the team had high hopes for a good grid position and race. Heavy rains had limited practice time, as Memo rolled out on the track with twenty-four other prototypes and began looking to set himself up for a clear run...on lap two of qualifying, the number 02 car got wide on turn four and ran into the gravel trap, tearing off the front body work and ended the qualifying session with less than two laps in the book. With two minutes of the thirty minute qualifying session run (cut short due to approaching rain) the cars had barely gotten up to speed and Memo's hopes of a front row starting spot were dashed.
As the green flag dropped on Saturday's race, Gidley went straight to work passing the seventh place car before turn one. The racing was fierce and the top ten was changing every lap. Memo fought his way up to second place as the top five banged into each other in nearly every turn. He pitted and came out of the pits in sixth and worked his way back up to third place and held the spot lap after lap as he raced past the half way point. He rolled into the pits under green to hand the car over to his co-driver Michael McDowell. Third place, three seconds out of first.
The team and drivers performed an amazing pit stop with a driver change, four tires and a full load of fuel in thirty seconds. McDowell stormed back onto the track in fifth place. Six laps later the yellow flew and Michael rolled in for an early pit stop hoping to take on enough fuel to finish the race. A pit miscue dropped the car down a lap as the green flap waved and McDowell raced back onto the track. Eight laps later a car attempting to pass the number 19 pushed Michael wide into the grass, filling his radiator with debris...the car once again rolled into the pits to clear the grill, putting the car a second lap down. Michael drove his heart out and pulled the car up from fifteenth to tenth place as the checker flew, giving the rookie team and drivers a top ten finish (out of forty-seven cars) in just their second Grand Am start.
"I am proud of the team and Michael", stated Memo, "we overcame a lot this weekend and we're getting better every day. This is just the second race and we still have twelve, or is it thirteen to go...I'm certain we will be running upfront a lot this season and this is a team that can win races in our first year"
The Miami 300 was shown on Speed and the car, Memo and Michael received a great deal of TV time during the three hour event. Look for Memo in the #48 Air Force Reserve Ford Focus at Sebring in the Speed World Challenge Touring Car race, March 16th on Speed.