Daytona Beach, Fla. February 3, 2005 -- In the first qualifying session for America's most exciting endurance race, Ten Motorsports' Memo Gidley turned a 1:48.193 in his second lap, the eleventh fastest overall. Qualifying in the first session was...
Daytona Beach, Fla. February 3, 2005 -- In the first qualifying session for America's most exciting endurance race, Ten Motorsports' Memo Gidley turned a 1:48.193 in his second lap, the eleventh fastest overall. Qualifying in the first session was important to the team, but the realization is that any starting point means little in the grand scheme of such a lengthy race, as merely finishing the race can be an enormous challenge.
The taxing 24-hour battle lends itself to a crafty strategy likened to a chess match more so than a slug fest as is the case for sprint races. Proper management of pit stops, driver changes and tire swaps all are equally important as fast laps and intelligent racing. The Rolex 24 can bring out the best in a team, or expose its weaknesses.
Gidley's leadership and exemplary racing intuition were on display during the first practice of the day when he noticed a slight lag in top-end power. Rather than try to drive through a potential problem and possibly create further damage, Gidley wisely sidelined the car, allowing the crew to diagnose and treat the symptom.
Michael McDowell felt that the DP performed and handled very well: "I know that going into any race, especially an endurance race of this magnitude, you have to have confidence in your machine and your fellow drivers, and I'm extremely pleased with how we executed today and over the past few months."
The Ten team continued their solid driving into the night session posting the third best lap time of the provisional. Michael Valiante and Jonathan Bomarito had an added element to content with during the evening session, as looming clouds finally gave way to rain. Practice resumes Friday at 9:30 am and again at 1:00 pm, ending prior to the Grand Am Cup 200. The renowned Rolex 24 begins Saturday at noon.
Finlay qualifies 14th for Grand-Am Cup season opener
Team owner Rob Finlay, despite only completing a limited number of laps, came out of Cup qualifying sitting nicely in 14th position. "I feel lucky to be where we're at, as in the first session I didn't get many clean laps in, and it was a similar situation during qualifying," said Rob Finlay. The Finlay Motorsports M3 will be driven by Rob Finlay and Michael McDowell in the Grand-Am Cup 200 on Friday. The race commences at 2:15 pm.