Doran Team Can't Get a Brake in the Deserts of New Jersey After running consistently in the top-5 in pre-race practice sessions, the ...
Doran Team Can't Get a Brake in the Deserts of New Jersey
After running consistently in the top-5 in pre-race practice sessions, the #77 Doran Racing/Kodak Doran-Dallara Ford co-driven by Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger was set for a strong run in the Grand-Am Rolex SuperCar Life 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park until brake problems forced the car to pit for lengthy repairs mid-way through the race. Looking to make the best of the situation, the Doran Racing team utilized the remainder of the event as a test session for the final race of the 2008 season, the SunRichGourmet.com 1000 at Miller Motorsport Park in Tooele, Utah, September 18 - 20.
Heading into the New Jersey race, the Doran Racing team had a remarkable streak going; eleven top-10 finishes, eight of them in a row. When the checkered flag fell on the SuperCar Life 250, the #77 car was credited with a 14th-place finish.
"The car felt good and was fast right off the trailer, which is always the best way to start a race weekend," said Gidley. "We had a couple of yellows early in the race which helped keep the pack together and things were looking good until Brad pitted and we switched drivers. I was about five or six laps into my stint when the brake pedal went to the floor and I had to pit. The Doran crew fixed the problem but the repairs still took fourteen laps, so when we went back out I did thirty minutes to make sure I got my driver points and then turned the car back over to Brad for the rest of the race."
Gidley, the widely respected American driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now makes his home in Novato, California, has made a name for himself as one of the most committed drivers in the paddock, driving and winning in everything from karts to Indy Cars and stock cars to prototypes. His co-driver, Brad Jaeger is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University where he was a member of their Formula SAE team, has a racing resume that includes karting, Sports 2000, Skip Barber, F2000, Star Mazda and the Indy Pro Series.
"Qualifying was frustrating because we found out that the switch that controls the engine 'map' was in the wrong position instead of qualifying in the top ten, we started thirteenth," said Jaeger, who qualified and started the race. "But the car had good blance for the race and we were pushing hard in the early stages. Then I handed the car over to Memo and he only got in a couple of laps before the brakes went away and he had to make that really long stop for repairs. He turned the car back over to me for the last part of the race and I got in some really useful test time that should help us in the finale at Miller."
The event was the first-ever race held at the brand-new New Jersey Motorsports Park, a 700-acre facility located in Millville, NJ, conveniently located to such major markets as Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC. Being a brand-new track, there were predictable teething problems, and Jaeger commented that, ". this was the dustiest track I've ever been on. It's been so dry there that the grass they planted didn't take and every time a car dropped a wheel off the track, it threw up such a cloud of dust and dirt that you couldn't see where you were going."
Gidley, while acknowledging the dust problems, liked the track. "It's a bit narrow, but the layout is really nice and there was a reasonable level of grip even with all the dust. I was also amazed at how many people were there, especially for the first race at a brand-new facility. There are only a couple of grandstands, but you could see people streaming in carrying folding chairs and they were really into the racing."
The #77 Kodak Daytona Prototype that the Doran Racing team has been campaigning throughout the 2008 Rolex Series season is a Doran chassis fitted with Dallara bodywork featuring enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. For most of the season, Doran Racing also fielded a second car, the #47 CDOC/Brach's Candy Dallara co-driven by Burt Frisselle and Ricky Taylor. The #47 car made its debut in Mexico City and ran its final race of the season last weekend in the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. Both cars are powered by 500 horsepower Roush-Yates Ford V-8 engines.