ANOTHER TOP-5 AT WATKINS GLEN FOR FINLAY MOTORSPORTS AS GIDLEY AND VALIANTE BRING HOME THE TEAM' S 6th TOP-5 AND 10th TOP-10 FINISH IN THE ROLEX SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP Watkins Glen, NY (9/24/05) -- The Finlay Motorsports team, with regular ...
ANOTHER TOP-5 AT WATKINS GLEN FOR FINLAY MOTORSPORTS AS GIDLEY AND VALIANTE BRING HOME THE TEAM' S 6th TOP-5 AND 10th TOP-10 FINISH IN THE ROLEX SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP
Watkins Glen, NY (9/24/05) -- The Finlay Motorsports team, with regular driver Memo Gidley and Canadian hotshoe Michael Valiante substituting for Michael McDowell, brought the team's #19 Air Force Reserve / Make-A-Wish Foundation / Commercial Defeasance Dinan-Powered Riley Prototype home for yet another top-5 finish in a crash-strewn Crown Royal 250 Rolex Series race at the famed Watkins Glen International track.
The 2 3/4 hour race, round 12 in the 14-race 2005 Grand American Rolex Series schedule, was won by the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor.
Valiante, sitting in for regular Finlay driver Michael McDowell who was serving a one-race suspension this weekend, was hampered by rain and fog in trying to get enough seat time to get up to speed. He qualified the car 11th on the grid, and ran the first hour of the race, carving his way through the field with surgical precision before handing the car over to co-driver Gidley in 2nd place during the second pit stop.
"It was rainy and foggy in the early part of the weekend, so I didn't get much time in the car," said Valiante. "Still I was able to get up to speed pretty fast in the race and things were looking pretty good when I handed the car over to Memo during the pit stop. The Finlay crew did a great job of setting the car up, and the pit stops were flawless."
Gidley returned to the track in 11th place, and was set to execute the team strategy for the remainder of the race when a massive accident involving multiple cars caused every team's plans to go out the window. Cleaning up the debris and oil took many laps, and by that time, all the teams were forced into the same one-stop strategy.
"We were looking good for another podium finish until that big crash took so long to clean up," said Gidley. "After that, everyone ahead of us had enough gas to go the distance, and we just had to outrace them. I was able to get the car up into 5th, but there just weren't enough laps left to move up any further. We scored some useful points, and Michael Valiante had a chance to work with the team and I again, which will be useful when he hopefully joins us full time next year."
The next race on the 2005 Grand American Rolex Series schedule is at Virginia International Raceway, October 6 -- 9. The series will wrap up its 2005 season in Mexico City on November 4 -- 5.