April 14, 2000, Long Beach: Californian driver Memo Gidley ran his first laps of the 2000 CART Fedex Championship Season today at Long Beach, returning to the scene of his 1998 win in Toyota Atlantics. The Novato resident is a last-minute ...
April 14, 2000, Long Beach: Californian driver Memo Gidley ran his first laps of the 2000 CART Fedex Championship Season today at Long Beach, returning to the scene of his 1998 win in Toyota Atlantics. The Novato resident is a last-minute substitute in the Players #32 Ford-Reynard-Firestone, filling in for Patrick Carpentier who injured his hand in his Las Vegas home on Monday.
After a productive morning practice in which Gidley was clocked with the fastest speed down the back straight, the second-year CART veteran had an abbreviated qualifying session. Explains Gidley:
"It was pretty good, we just needed more time. We were changing gear ratios just before the start of the session, and it took a bit longer than we expected. So we were a bit late getting started, and then I went out and lost it on cold tires trying to get around somebody in Turn Six. The officials assess a penalty for causing an interruption in the qualifying session, so I had to sit in the pits for eight minutes. I really only got just one run on a single set of tires, at the very end of the session."
Gidley's fifth and final lap was his fastest of the session, clocked at 70.106 seconds, good for seventh position in the first group and 19th overall, three positions behind his teammate Alexandre Tagliani and 1.47 seconds behind the day's leader, Adrian Fernandez.
Friday Quotes from Memo:
On his first seat-time in a Champcar since the 1999 Australia race:
"It's tough to jump in could like I did. But I now have a day behind me and I feel a lot more comfortable. There is more to come from me, it's just a matter of getting the laps I need and the car how I need it."
On his frame of mind while held in the pits for an eight-minute penalty:
"I pretty much just sat there quietly and waited for the penalty to end. I couldn't wait to get back out there and drive. It's hard when you first get back in a Champcar after several months; once you are finally out on the track, you wish you could just get in a cocoon, run all day and try to fine tune everything. Being in the car is much more natural than anything else you do."
On his first experience with Team Players:
"This team is very good, you can tell just by looking at the car. The attention to detail is very very nice on the car, and the crew is very professional." On the changes to the course layout:
"The track is quite a bit different since last I was here-they changed it twice. It's better. The corners are a little faster, which I like. There's now another passing area just after turn six. All the improvements are really good."
On the technical improvements he hopes to make on Saturday:
"I think we need to somehow try and get a little less understeer without affecting the hookup. We're kind of dancing right now, getting better front grip but then losing a bit of hookup coming off the turn. We aim to find the balance where we can get the best of both worlds."
On his evening plans:
"You always replay everything in your mind after leaving the track. I'm just going to do a short workout and hopefully get to bed before nine."