A RACER RETURNS TO THE BATTLEGROUND WHERE IT ALL STARTED If a racetrack can have a `favorite son,' and a driver can genuinely feel that a certain racetrack provided `fatherly guidance' for his career -- then that relationship exists between ...
A RACER RETURNS TO THE BATTLEGROUND WHERE IT ALL STARTED
If a racetrack can have a `favorite son,' and a driver can genuinely feel that a certain racetrack provided `fatherly guidance' for his career -- then that relationship exists between Laguna Seca and Memo Gidley, the Novato native who has raced everything from karts to Champ Cars to Prototypes at this legendary circuit.
Competing as co-driver of the #77 Doran Racing Grand-Am prototype in this weekend's U.S. Sports Car Invitational at the track where it all began, Gidley finds himself also re-connected with an old friend from back in the days when both were first getting started in racing; Steve Aderholt, who's Aderholt Specialty Company, Inc., will be a Doran Racing Team co-Sponsor for the race.
"It's funny how things happen in racing, how people from your past come back," says Gidley, who co-drove the Doran Racing prototype to a 7th-place finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona earlier this year. "Steve and I got to be pretty good friends when I was working as a mechanic at the Russell School at Laguna and he was a racer there. But then we lost touch for ten years until finally he called my mother a couple of years ago and we got back together. He's still got the desire to go racing, so we do a bit of karting together and just hang around, and now he's stepping up to test the waters as a sponsor this weekend."
Aderholt's story is a familiar one among young businessmen who take up racing; his involvement in both racing and his company grew until one or the other had to be put on hold. Aderholt chose to focus on developing his business as a contractor working on major office buildings and casinos in Las Vegas, including the Aladdin, Paris, Venetian and, most recently, the newest Trump Tower.
"The business finally grew to the point where I had good people in place running things and I could get back to fast cars and racing, which were my first love," says Aderholt. "I was watching Memo race in the Rolex Prototypes two years ago and thought to myself that I should get back in touch with him. I called his mother, she put us in touch and just by chance I was coming off a cruise in Fort Lauderdale at the same time he was in Daytona for the 24 Hours, so we hooked up there. I'm looking at how I want to get back into racing, and I'm delighted to be part of Kevin Doran's excellent team for this weekend and hopefully it will lead to something down the road."
In addition to his own company Aderholt has added some similarly-inclined fellow enthusiasts to the sponsorship package, including Driven Exotics, located in Gilroy. Owned by Steve and Kim Gleaner, Driven Exotics is one of the top Lamborghini specialists in North America. Also signed up to be part of Gidley's `sponsor posse' this weekend is Phil Caraccilo, owner of Auto World 2000.
"These guys were so excited to be involved and come to the race this weekend that it was like Christmas," says Aderholt. "We'll actually have about thirty people, all company owners like me, rooting for Memo and the team."
Gidley and co-driver Guy Cosmo will be racing the # 77 Feeds the Need/Doran Racing Kodak DORAN JE4 Ford, a car designed and built by Doran Enterprises and Doran Designs. The car weighs 2,135 pounds, is powered by a 500 horsepower Ford engine built by NASCAR legend Yates Racing, and has a top speed of 190 mph.