The #77 McDonalds/Doran Daytona Prototype had another strong finish in round two of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 this past weekend at the Grand Prix of Miami. The driver duo of Memo Gidley and newly recruited Dion VonMoltke, brought the McDonalds car home 9th.
The weekend kicked off on Friday, with Memo and the team making significant changes to the #77 racecar in practice. “I was happy with the positive changes we made to the car in the very limited amount of practice we had at this event,” said Gidley. “The car became very responsive and very competitive and I was looking forward to see what Dion could do in qualifying and what we could do in the race.”
Dion ended up qualifying the car 11th after some strong personal practice times earlier in the day. “Dion really impressed me with his ability to get up to speed in the McDonalds car right away,” said Gidley. “Unfortunately, he made a mistake on the second lap of qualifying and badly flat spotted a front tire which really hurt his qualifying run. Without that, I was sure he was going to qualify in the top eight… he was doing that well.”
At the start of the race, Dion was able to move as high as 8th before settling back into just around the top ten. Then the mandatory 45 minute stop for all teams saw Dion get out and Memo get in to see what he could do in the McDonalds car for the next 2 hours.
However, Gidley came out of the pits and was only six seconds ahead of the #59 Brumos car and under an immediate threat to go a lap down. “We really needed a yellow so that I could get back up to the tail end of the field but that never came,” said Gidley.
The Brumos car hounded Gidley, eventually putting the #77 McDonalds car a lap down. Gidley then fought back and ten laps later re-passed the leading Brumos car to put the McDonalds car back on the lead lap. “The McDonalds car really felt nice and I was able to track down the lead car and get our lap back which felt really good,” said Gidley. “But again, the yellow never came which was frustrating for us.”
At the end of the nearly three hour race, the #77 McDonalds car ended up finishing 9th overall. “It was a bit frustrating because the car felt like a 5th or 6th place car and we just needed a yellow to get us back up to the lead group and go racing,” said Gidley. “But, all in all, it was a good weekend for the #77 McDonalds car and to have two strong run early in the season is a positive thing for us. Dion also did a good job in this race. I was impressed with his speed and know that he will just continue to get stronger and stronger in the car. I’m looking forward to good things around the corner for us.”
The next race is the Porsche 250, April 8th-10th at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.