Doran Racing had their best result in five years finishing fourth this past weekend with the #77 McDonald’s car in round #3 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, Saturday during the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
The #77 McDonald’s prototype was fast right away as Gidley immediately jumped to the front of the timing charts in practice showed that they had a shot to have a strong weekend. “Even though we were fast here last year, different tires, cooler weather, all these details can change the speed of a car year to year,” said Gidley. “However, after my first laps, I knew the #77 McDonalds car felt great and I knew we were going to be very competitive and I could not wait to race.”
In qualifying, newly signed teammate Dion VonMoltke showed why he is going to be a great asset by putting the #77 McDonalds car fifth in qualifying. “I told Dion he is the glimmer of hope we needed to really have a shot to show what we can do,” said Gidley “I was really proud of him for putting the McDonald’s car fifth on the starting grid.”
At the start, Dion got freight-trained and dropped a few positions, but then settled into a great pace before handing the car off to Gidley just as the pit window opened thirty minutes into the race. Gidley jumped in and then started picking off cars one at a time over the next couple of hours. Eventually he and the Doran team found themselves in fourth spot with Memo locked in a battle with third spot Ryan Dalziel in the #8 Starworks car. It was a great race that would ultimately see the Doran car finish fourth, its best result in five years.
“I was in the car over two hours, I was hot, I was tired, and because we were so competitive, I was loving every minute of it!” said Gidley. “Dion did a fantastic job of handing me the car in a great spot, Kevin and the Doran team gave us an awesome car, it was just a great race and I was very happy for everybody involved.”
After that Gidley immediately jumped in his rental car and drove off to Atlanta to try to catch a flight, hoping to get back to DJSA Jet Ski Series race #1 at Salt Springs Reservoir Sunday at Copperopolis, CA. “Thank goodness for my engineer Mike, who told me that Atlanta was one hour ahead of Alabama, or I don’t think I would have known to leave at the right time!” said Gidley.
After just making the flight with thirty minutes to spare, a five-hour flight next to a screaming baby, a three-hour sleep at his house, a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Cooperopolis, CA, Gidley found himself arriving at Salt Springs Reservoir for the DJSA Jet Ski Series race #1.
“I should have been tired but surprisingly felt really strong,” said Gidley. “I have been training harder than ever before and it was nice to see that pay off.”
The conditions in sunny California were anything but that as cold, rainy and extremely windy conditions made for some of the roughest water conditions the DJSA outlaw series has seen for a long time. Either way, DJSA series staff and riders bundled up and everybody saw some amazing racing. At the end of the day, last year’s 800 Champion, Gidley, would end up fourth overall in the Super 850 Expert class final.
“I had two terrible starts, the first losing positions because of contact with two riders, and the second, a rock was sucked into my impeller causing me to have a big loss of power, but even with all that I was battling second and third place in both motos,” said Gidley. “It was a great achievement for me as I was just bumped up to the expert class which has much stiffer competition. I can’t wait for the next race!”
The next race in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is the Bosch Engineering 250 April 23rd – 24th at Virginia International Raceway. The race kicks off at 12:00 Saturday with full coverage on SPEED starting at 2:00 pm EST on Saturday 4/24.
Round #2 of the DJSA outlaw jet ski series is at Camp Far West in Sacramento, CA April 25th.