June 7, 2000, Lexington Ohio: American driver Memo Gidley ran approximately fifteen timed laps today for Della Penna Motorsports at CART's open test in Lexington, Ohio. The ...
June 7, 2000, Lexington Ohio: American driver Memo Gidley ran approximately fifteen timed laps today for Della Penna Motorsports at CART's open test in Lexington, Ohio. The #10 Toyota-Reynard-Firestone suffered a chronic transmission leak, limiting Gidley to a single hour of track time. Della Penna's regular driver Norberto Fontana is expected to return to the car tomorrow for the second day of the two-day test.
Gidley was last seen in a Champ Car competing at Twin Ring Motegi on May 13th, and had not driven on a permanent road course since the Laguna Seca CART event last September. Gidley spent the second half of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but was unable to find enough speed in his year-old Team Pelfrey Dallara-Oldsmobile-Firestone to qualify for the big show.
Gidley received a call at home in Novato California from team owner John Della Penna on Monday June 5th, inquiring if Gidley would be available to substitute for Norberto Fontana on the first day of the two-day Mid-Ohio test. Gidley promptly jumped on a plane Tuesday morning, and went directly to the track from the airport for an afternoon seat installation and pedal adjustment.
Gidley described his day at the track shortly after the conclusion of the afternoon session:
Did you have any fun today?
"Oh yeah, I had a lot of fun. This is what I do, this is what I know, this is what I enjoy. Getting out there is the fun part."
Do you like driving a red car?
"It doesn't matter, I'll drive a pink car."
Have you driven at Mid Ohio before?
"Yeah, it's awesome. I've raced here in Formula Ford 2000, in Atlantics, and last year in Dale Coyne's Champ Car. The track is fast and it's highly technical because of the off-camber corners. It's a little bit bumpy, and it's got a ton of grip. You can be really aggressive at Mid-Ohio, sliding the car around. The rubber lays down real thick out here like frosting on a cake. Not so much this year, but in years past. It's great."
Are there any plans for you to drive for Della Penna at CART's next event in Detroit?
"I'm the new Supersub, so I'm available for Della Penna or anyone else who needs me. The impression I have today is that Norberto Fontana will drive for Della Penna in Detroit unless he needs more time to fully recover from his recent crash. I'll be here tomorrow on standby in case Norberto isn't comfortable in the car. Basically I'm his relief pitcher at the moment, should he need one."
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