THE DRIVERS OF THE NUMBER 19 DAYTONA PROTOTYPE LOOK TO USE PAST EXPERIENCE AT LONG BEACH MOORESVILLE, NC (April 3, 2006) -- The party at the beach is set to kick off for the Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series on Friday, April 7th . Memo ...
THE DRIVERS OF THE NUMBER 19 DAYTONA PROTOTYPE LOOK TO USE PAST EXPERIENCE AT LONG BEACH
MOORESVILLE, NC (April 3, 2006) -- The party at the beach is set to kick off for the Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series on Friday, April 7th .
Memo Gidley and Michael McDowell, drivers of the Playboy/Uniden/Palms sponsored Ford- powered Crawford machine, hope to be celebrating in victory lane by the end of the 90 minute contest on Saturday. Although Long Beach will mark a first for Michael McDowell and the Grand American Series, Memo Gidley, Steve Cameron and several members of the crew have plenty of experience racing on these city streets. Memo Gidley has competed on the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit a total of three times, winning the Atlantic race in 1998 and leading his first ever champ car laps in 2000.
"Long Beach has always been one of my favorite tracks," explained Gidley. "I have won in the Formula Atlantics on this track, and also led my first laps in a Ford powered Champ Car in 2000. But the biggest thing that stands out is the fan support being that I'm from California. It was most noticeable when I was out of a ride and spending the race weekend walking around the paddock. The fans constantly stopped to talk to me and reminded me to keep working hard and good things would come. Now I'm with a great team, have very supportive sponsors, Playboy/Uniden/Palms, and running in an awesome series - Grand American. I'm looking forward to showing everyone what the No. 19 Ford- powered Crawford can do this weekend." Steve Cameron, the team manager and driver coach for this team, can also tell you from experience what it's like to race on this circuit. Cameron competed at Long Beach as a driver in 1992 and 1994, starting in the top-ten both times.
The ironic part of this story is that Memo Gidley was working as a mechanic for Jim Griffith at the time and actually wrenched on Cameron's car. Although Cameron's driving days are over, he still has his work cut out for him this weekend. The team's second driver Michael McDowell will be making his Long Beach debut this weekend.
The young shoe from Phoenix, Arizona will be looking for Cameron's advice and expertise as he takes to the tight street circuit for the first time on Friday. "Long Beach is such an exciting race," said McDowell. "It's one of the biggest races in the United States and it's awesome that we're going to be racing the Daytona Prototype cars. The course is very tight and the cars are so big that I think the fans are going to see the most exciting race of the year.
I've never raced at Long Beach but Steve Cameron and Memo Gidley have both logged several laps around the circuit so I think we should have an advantage especially given the limited amount of practice."