American driver Memo Gidley topped the charts in the first group during morning practice today at Gateway. The solid performance was an encouraging rebound for the Della Penna team after a difficult race last weekend in Laguna. Gidley's...
American driver Memo Gidley topped the charts in the first group during morning practice today at Gateway. The solid performance was an encouraging rebound for the Della Penna team after a difficult race last weekend in Laguna. Gidley's morning time of 26.468 seconds was good enough for ninth in the combined morning standings, and placed him as the fourteenth fastest driver on the day.
Gidley is no stranger to P1 at Gateway, having won here in Toyota Atlantics in 1998. "I think it's going to be a really good track to race on with Champ Cars. There are a couple of lines out there, and you can pass people. This track is banked up high, so you can use the upper groove, unlike Chicago, for example, which is only banked down low and flattens out up top."
According to Gidley, finding speed early has positive effects on the engineering effort throughout the weekend. "That's the way you always hope it could be: you roll off the truck and the car feels good. Within seven laps I was getting aggressive with it and putting fast times on the board. When you start out so well, you have more time to think through the changes and let the track come to you. On the other hand, when you go out in the morning and you're running last, just hanging on to save your teeth, you have to take big risks and throw things at the problem."
The afternoon session was not as kind to Gidley, who was unable to improve on his morning time. "It's not that far off," said Gidley, referring to the afternoon setup. "If we just hook the thing up then we'll be right back to where we were this morning. One end of the car is really good, and one end is really bad. The grip is there, but the balance is not. Tonight we will try to figure it out."
Owner John Della Penna added "we tried a lot of different settings in the afternoon session, but we weren't able to improve on our time from this morning. The track conditions shifted, because the car behavior sure changed from this morning to this afternoon. The important thing for race day is to have a car that's consistent throughout the race, and we will have to improve that as well."