April 15, 2000, Long Beach: Substitute driver Memo Gidley stunned the paddock this afternoon by qualifying tenth, the first top-ten starting position in his budding Champcar career. Memo's time of 68.523 seconds placed him second in the initial...
April 15, 2000, Long Beach: Substitute driver Memo Gidley stunned the paddock this afternoon by qualifying tenth, the first top-ten starting position in his budding Champcar career. Memo's time of 68.523 seconds placed him second in the initial qualifying session, and the Novato, CA resident was greeted with cheers from a pack of photographers, journalists and crewmembers upon returning the #32 Ford-Reynard-Firestone to the Players pit. Maxmixing his first Champcar seat-time since the 1999 Surfers Paradise race and his first experience with the 2000 model Reynard chassis, Gidley outqualified two of last season's official All-Stars, Paul Tracy and Michael Andretti.
MEMO SATURDAY QUOTES:
On the Players Ford-Reynard-Firestone:
"The car's capable of running at the front. If I could work with the awesome Players team longer then we could get it to the front. The team, the car, is just beautiful, I mean you could eat off the exhaust pipes."
On his return to Champcar racing:
"It's an intense learning experience. I haven't been in the car since Surfer's Paradise last year, it's been about six months. So I'm trying to squeeze a whole off-season of testing the new car into one weekend. I just drove it the hardest I could. The first couple laps yesterday morning were so hectic for me, I've never experienced anything like that. The cars are so violent and so aggressive that you really need to be on top of them. When you can do that and really get comfortable it's the greatest feeling in the world."
On his ability to adapt quickly to new situations:
"I've driven anything and everything. I started in motorcross, I've driven midgets, I've driven stock cars, open wheel, go-karts, you name it. I think that's helped me because I can learn a little bit of something out of every experience. Over the last couple years, the only way I get an opportunity carrying no money and no sponsorship is to just jump in cold-turkey and make it work.
On proving himself worthy of a full-time ride in CART:
"I can do it. I think most people know. It's not too easy to come in with no testing and no practice and do well. I think most all the team owners know that given the right amount of testing, I can win races, I can win championships. The holdup is it's tough to get the necessary experience. Most of the teams with sponsors want somebody that has all the experience, they want to see that you can jump right in and win races. The other teams, you gotta bring money or sponsors, which I don't have."