CHAMPCAR/CART: Bumpy birthday for Memo Gidley in Houston

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September 29, 2000, Houston, Texas: American driver Memo Gidley spent his thirtieth birthday hustling his car over the bumpy streets of Houston today, placing 23rd in provisional qualifying with a time of 61.887 seconds.

"It's really bumpy on the track," said Gidley, "and the hardest thing for us is to get the car to be compliant over the bumps. We had a good setup in Vancouver, but the big difference coming from there to here is that Vancouver's a lot smoother."

Gidley's description of his rough ride caught the attention of his mother Mary Gidley, who treated the Red Menace crew to an astounding account of her own rough ride the night Memo was born:

"We were living on a boat anchored off the coast of La Paz Mexico. We had made arrangements to have Memo delivered by a local midwife in town. So one night, it was a full moon, and there was a big strong current in La Paz. I looked at Cass and said, I'm going into labor, and we've got to brave this tide and row into town."

"So we rowed along in the skiff, bouncing on the waves, and the strong current pushed us a mile and a half down the beach from where our car was parked. We took turns dragging the boat through the water all the way back up the beach to our car. We got in the car, and although we had the address of the midwife's clinic, there were no signposts. Finally we figured out that the roadsigns were on the sides of the buildings, and we shined a flashlight out the side of the car so we could navigate."

"We finally found the clinic, but nobody was there except the night watchman. So Cass left me there in a chair and drove off to find the midwife. He returned with the midwife, and I gave birth to Memo within an hour in a place they called the "expulsion room." We paid the midwife $69, and found out we were supposed to bring a blanket and clothes or for our new baby, because the clinic did not provide them. Cass went out and found a little plastic clothes basket, and that was Memo's little crib, his first boat.

We got back to the shipyard right when the workers were starting up the morning shift, and I'll never forget how bouncy the boat ride was - hopping up and down over the choppy waves. Not your typical post-partum recouperation, huh!

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley