CHAMPCAR/CART: Gidley first race at Fontana qualifying notes

American driver Memo Gidley qualified 17th today in his first career race at California Speedway. On a cool cloudy day with almost no breeze, qualifying conditions were ideal, and points-leader Gil de Ferran ran the fastest official lap in ...

American driver Memo Gidley qualified 17th today in his first career race at California Speedway. On a cool cloudy day with almost no breeze, qualifying conditions were ideal, and points-leader Gil de Ferran ran the fastest official lap in history, averaging 241.428 miles per hour. Gidley was only 1.1 seconds behind, averaging 232.936 mph, the fastest lap in his young career. Gidley experienced a close call in the morning practice, when Max Papis and Roberto Moreno got together just minutes after the session began. Both drivers made hard contact with the wall immediately in front of Gidley, who narrowly avoided contact and rolled to a stop on the track.

On the Papis/Moreno accident:
"I came around the turn and was right in back of the accident. There was a lot of debris, which I was trying hard to avoid, and in the process I stalled the car. I saw Max's car on fire and there was nobody around, so I started hopping out in case I could lend a hand. The safety guys showed up moments later and by the time I was out of the car the fire had been put out."

On his prospects for a good race tomorrow:
"The car is working very well in traffic. The car is very consistent, and I have a lot of range for adjustment, so I think we're looking good for tomorrow."

On his plans for the 2001 season:
"I've never had a full-time ride, so I'm basically in the same position as I have been for the past two years, subbing for other drivers. Unless something comes up between now and the beginning of the season, I'll be back next season with my helmet walking around the pits doing the same thing I always do."

"I actually feel very good about my career progress to date. Eight years ago I made a year-by-year career plan, and my goal was to make my debut in Champ Cars in 1999, which was exactly when it actually happened. So my career is just getting started and I am grateful for each opportunity to race at this level and show people what I can do."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Memo Gidley , Roberto Moreno