Memo Gidley returns to action

He's back! Memo Gidley returns to the ...

He's back! Memo Gidley returns to the #19 at Watkins Glen

Rewind to April 8th, Memo Gidley was practicing for the Long Beach Grand Prix Daytona Prototype race when his Playboy/Uniden Ford Crawford racecar suffered brake failure as he was preparing to slow down off the 170mph front straightaway at the famous Long Beach race track. In an instant Memo went from preparing for the Long Beach race to slamming into the concrete barriers at 145 mph and having to be extricated form the destroyed racecar and transported in an ambulance to the hospital. Memo was then diagnosed with a compression fracture of his back and told he would be sidelined with close to three months of rehabilitation.

Last week, in less than two months since that day and a surprise to all those around, Daytona Prototype series star, Memo Gidley, was cleared to drive in the upcoming Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glenn. "For sure that crash at Long Beach was a disappointment." said Gidley. "That afternoon after the wreck as I was lying on my back and unable to move I made myself a deal. I basically gave myself one night to feel sorry for myself and said that the next morning I would not think about the past and prepare for the future. So the next day even though I was unable to move, I called everybody I had ever know that suffered from a broken back, and was on the internet so that I could put together a game plan to get me back to being strong as soon as possible."

A week after the accident and while the team was racing at the VIR, the rumor circulating at the track was that Memo was already in the gym. "Yep, I was in the Gym."

said Gidley. Basically, I didn't want to waist any time that would help me to get back. I heard that people thought I was crazy. I definitely wasn't going to just sit at home and do nothing."

Memo then began a training program that had many skeptical that he might be pushing too hard and too soon to want to get back in the racecar. "I guess I am a little crazy but I wasn't being stupid," said Gidley. "I was listening to my body and my body said lets go work out--so that's what I did! My plan with rehabilitation was to do things that didn't hurt. I tried every exercise I would normally do, and then a bunch that I hadn't to see what felt good and what felt bad. I had also gotten an understanding from the various doctors and re-hab therapists on what I didn't want to do with this type of injury."

Memo's final check up was last Tuesday with Dr. Trammell in Indianapolis. When the normal x-rays looked good, Memo was given a detailed CT scan of his back and was told he would be contacted with the results. Memo then drove up to Mid Ohio to help his Playboy/Uniden Racing team test on the Mid Ohio track. "Waiting to hear the results was more painful than the wreck" said Gidley, The first thing that Dr. Trammell said to me was that I had healed at an unordinarialy fast rate. The second thing he said was that it was safe for me to race Watkins Glen." Memo credits his fast healing to just being focused and working hard. "When other people might look at something like this as a set-back, I looked at it as a challenge." said Gidley. "In my mind this was no different than trying to find that last 2 tenths of a second to be on pole, or digging deep into yourself when its 110 degrees in the car and you still have 1 hour to go to win the race. If you can see the goal and work hard you can achieve it--and I could definitely see mine crystal clear."

Memo comes back into the car with seven more races to go and the Playboy/Uniden Ford Crawford car in second place in team standings. "I am so stoked to be back," said Gidley. "The team has done an awesome job the last few races to keep us right in the hunt for the championship. I also want to thank Guy Cosmo for filling in for me behind the wheel and for doing such a great job driving. I really just love driving this Ford powered prototype and I can't wait for the six hour race at the Glen."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Memo Gidley , Guy Cosmo