Gidley Great in Cleveland Dash Leads 57 laps en route to second place finish In only his second career CART start for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Memo Gidley nearly stole the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by Firstar from winner Dario...
Gidley Great in Cleveland Dash
Leads 57 laps en route to second place finish
In only his second career CART start for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, Memo Gidley nearly stole the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by Firstar from winner Dario Franchitti, finishing just .305 seconds behind the Scot in his #4 Target Lola/Toyota. After leading the most laps of any Champ Car driver in the 100-lap contest, 57, Gidley needed a final sip of methanol on lap 90 to complete the scheduled distance. Gidley was hampered by lapped traffic as he attempted to wrest the winner's laurels from Franchitti, coming up just short, but pleased nonetheless.
"It's all about chasing a dream," Gidley gushed after sipping and spraying champagne. "I did all I could to get this opportunity and it was my passion for racing that kept me going. When [team general manager] Mike Hull called to ask if I was available to drive in Portland last week, I told him I had to check my schedule, but we both knew I was joking," Gidley explained.
"Last week was actually the third time I spoke with Chip [team owner Ganassi]; in fact, I think we've exchanged about 25 words in the last week and a half.
He really doesn't know me that well, but when he told me to push, he didn't realize that I race every lap like I'm on a qualifying run." Franchitti admitted, "Memo was coming on like a rocket," and if the lapped traffic hadn't let Franchitti through, "he might have caught me."
The race was held under cool, cloudy, windy conditions, with temperatures ranging from 67-71 in the air and 77-81 degrees on the track surface.
There was no rain and there was only one caution period, for the customary first-turn incident. Of 26 starters, 19 completed the race, and that final driver was third-place starter Max Wilson in the #25 winnerB2B.com Lola/Ford, who lost time when Bruno Junqueira's pit road collision blocked the rookie's pit stall entry. "I'm so proud of our team," said Wilson, who led 23 of the 100 laps. "I think we can do well in a lot of different tracks because of our finish here, so this was a good race for us."
Kenny Brack padded his points lead with a sixth place finish in the #8 Shell Lola/Ford, and now holds 84 points to second-place Helio Castroneves' 70, after the Brazilian finished out of the points. "We had a very good start (from 17th) going on the inside of turn one. I was hoping for a better finish today and thought I had a shot at the podium," the Swede said.
"We needed to save fuel all day and had to make a late stop that left us farther back. But that is part of this racing game, so I can't be totally upset.
I just want to get back on the podium, maybe in Toronto in two weeks," he grinned.
-Lola Cars International Ltd.