Utah: Playboy Racing/Finlay race report

SECOND PLACE FINISH FOR MEMO GIDLEY, MICHAEL MCDOWELL AND GUY COSMO AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK TOOELE, UTAH (September 2, 2006) -- As the Grand American field prepared to roll off the grid in anticipation of the green flag start, Memo Gidley...


TOOELE, UTAH (September 2, 2006) -- As the Grand American field prepared to roll off the grid in anticipation of the green flag start, Memo Gidley began to set himself up for a charge at the drop of the flag. Gidley started 10th but drove the car to the inside at the start picking up three positions by the end of the second lap. As the first stint came to a close for Gidley, the No.19 machine was shown in the fifth position.

Gidley brought the Playboy/Uniden/Palms -- sponsored machine down the pit lane for the first of several scheduled pit stops. As the team quickly serviced the orange and black Daytona Prototype, Gidley climbed from behind the wheel and his teammate Michael McDowell climbed into the cockpit. McDowell entered the battle in excellent track position due to the awesome pit stop performed by the Finlay Motorsports crew.

He continued to run up towards the front his entire stint putting down some excellent lap times until bringing the car into the pits for the team's second scheduled stop. During the second stop Guy Cosmo slid behind the wheel and waited for the crew to send him on his way. Cosmo returned to the competition and managed to hold his line but radioed into the crew that there was a problem with the power steering. As Cosmo continued to lap the 4.486-mile Miller Motorsports Park circuit, the crew carefully evaluated the situation.

When Cosmo's stint came to a close he brought the No.19 machine down pit lane once again and Memo Gidley prepared to return to the cockpit. Gidley wasted little time getting the No.19 machine back up front, running in second position at the close of his second stint of the day. As the power steering problem continued to plague the car, Gidley brought the car into the pits for another scheduled pit stop/driver change. The team once again had an awesome pit stop, returning Michael McDowell back to the battle in no time flat.

McDowell returned to the track in 6th position, continuing to battle the power steering problem or lack of. As his stint continued the young aggressive driver moved the car back into the top-3 before the yellow flag flew and he handed the car back over to Memo Gidley. Gidley climbed behind the wheel as the team serviced the car but the team experienced a problem with the door no latching correctly and a broken drink bottle. With no drink bottle, Gidley mentally prepared for his final stint as he waited for the green flag to drop.

At the drop of the green flag Gidley powered down his Ford engine, continuing to run third. Not far into his stint Gidley moved around the 01 car driven by Scott Dixon for the lead. Gidley continued to lead for several laps until Dixon got back around him. Dixon continued to lead until their scheduled pit stop a little under 8 hours remaining in the race. Gidley picked up the lead and drove a few more laps until his crew called him into the pits for their last scheduled stop.

The Finlay Motorsports crew had an unbelievable stop getting Michael McDowell out of the pits right behind the 60 car driven by Oswaldo Negri. The power steering continued to worsen as the laps began to trickle down, McDowell had his hands full with the No.19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms machine but he had his eyes set on the 60 car jus waiting for the right opportunity to make a move for the lead.

Unfortunately that opportunity fell short but McDowell muscled his way around the track and brought the No.19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms Ford-Powered Crawford home to a second place finish. The Finlay Motorsports team scored a total of eleven top-10 finishes, including four top-fives on their way to finishing fourth in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

MEMO GIDLEY "This was a great weekend for the Playboy/Uniden/Palms car. I really want to thank our teammates Rob Finlay, Michael Valiante and Mike Wright the engineer of the 5 car for sharing their set-up with us this weekend. It was a great result for us this weekend, the guys have worked so hard all year and they deserved this finish tonight. The 9-hour races are tough but our Ford-powered Daytona Prototype kicked but."

MICHAEL MCDOWELL "Those were the hardest hours that I've ever done. Memo and Guy did a great job all day keeping the car up front and made my job a little easier. I had a great battle going on with OS (Oswaldo) and I thought I had him but we got caught up in some traffic. The Playboy/Uniden car was awesome besides the problem with the power steering; those last few laps were really hard. I really want to thank Rob Finlay for everything he has done for me and for giving me this opportunity to race for a great team."

GUY COSMO "What a great race. Unfortunately I think I was in the car when the power steering began to let go and that was definitely a bit challenging. It was a great honor filling in for these guys (Michael McDowell and Memo Gidley) throughout the season and I'm glad that Rob Finlay and Steve Cameron gave me this opportunity to race with them both this weekend."

-credit: finlay motorsports

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Memo Gidley , Scott Dixon , Michael Valiante , Guy Cosmo , Michael McDowell , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Rob Finlay , Steve Cameron