Memo Gidley's recovery is going fairly well.
This is the tenth time the Indy cars have dueled on the Sonoma Raceway road course at the base of the Napa and Sonoma wine-making valleys, just a short trip from San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Bridge and the town of Sausalito that looks over the grand city.
Gidley at Sonoma
One of the sport’s great drivers hails from Sausalito and spent his formative years on a sailboat in the city, so under normal circumstances it wouldn’t be unusual to see Memo Gidley visiting old friends at this venerable race track just up the road from home.
But for Gidley, of course, these are not normal times at all. During last January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, Gidley sustained massive injuries in an early race accident where he came upon the nearly stopped Risi Ferrari GTLM F458 of Matteo Malucelli and barged into it. That Gidley survived the impact was a miracle; that he’s walking around the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock and enjoying himself doing so can’t help but bring a smile to everyone’s faces.
Gidley has certainly had a character defining seven months since that accident. His team owner Bob Stallings of GAINSCO Insurance spent nearly every day with his stricken driver at hospital near Daytona International Speedway and Memo also had regular visits from Jim France, who helped unify sports car racing as the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship (TUSCC).
Within the month Gidley was transported back to the West Coast via medical jet, an eight-hour trek that had the racer - who has refused medication whenever possible - begging for medical assistance for his intense pain.
That pain didn’t subside quickly and the simple things in life were extremely difficult for Memo Gidley. Fitted with a back brace that was removed less than a month ago, Gidley’s recovery was limited to swimming at the beginning and he moved into more standard workouts, including bicycling, with the removal of the brace.
The upshot of that is a happy Memo Gidley, visiting friends here at Sonoma Raceway and walking around the paddock - maybe a little stiff but still looking good and looking healthy. He’s grateful for all the well wishes people have sent him and looking forward to getting better and resuming an active life. Will that active life include motor sport? It’s too soon to tell but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Memo Gidley in a fire suit again some day.
In the meantime, he’s working hard to get his body back in proper trim - his mind’s already there.