So far this year, the #77 McDonalds/PR Newswire Daytona prototype has been getting a lot of attention. It seems like week in and week out, the driving duo of Memo Gidley and Dion Von Moltke have been seen on more occasions than not towards the front end of the Daytona Prototype field. And this past weekend at the Sahlens 6 Hours of the Glen, round #5 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 series race, was no different.
After the first practice, Memo and the #77 car sat impressively in second place and in a powerhouse team sandwich between GAINSCO and Ganassi Racing. And just to prove that it was no fluke, Memo and the Doran team went out to lead the second practice for most of the session before being knocked down to fourth with just a few minutes to go. “The thing that I am most excited about this year is that it seems in most of the races so far, we have been fast right off of the trailer,” said Gidley. “The only way to do this is with good mechanics and strong set ups, both of which seem to be happening.”
When it came to qualifying, the Doran team with Memo driving could only lay down a lap good for eighth place. “I thought I would be going for the pole and was dumbfounded as to why we lost so much speed in qualifying,” said Gidley. “But we did make a couple of changes before the session that potentially cost us a lot of time.”
However, with Memo starting it didn’t take long for the bright red McDonalds/PR Newswire Dallara to claw its way forward. And just thirty minutes into the race, Memo was up to fifth. With Memo exiting the car at the mandatory forty-five minute pit stop, it was Dion’s chance to have a turn at the wheel just as the rain started to fall. “Even though he did have a quick spin, I thought Dion did a really nice job in very tricky conditions and actually had some of the fastest laps at the time… I was impressed,” said Gidley. “Because of the sporadic rainfall, none of the teams wanted to come in and all of the cars ran the wet track on slicks, not an easy task for Dion.”
As the race continued to run, the Doran team struggled a little in the middle stints during the heat of the day. “We lost something as the heat came up,” said Gidley. “But then as the temps fell by the end of the race we were once again running some very quick laps.”
At the completion of the race, the #77 McDonalds/PR Newswire prototype finished in ninth, one lap down from the leaders, with Memo setting the fifth fastest lap in the process.
“I have been saying for a couple of years that a podium or win is just around the corner for Doran Racing,” said Gidley. “But wow, it sure seems like a very long corner so far! But I am very positive that this will happen soon. As a team we now have many of the pieces of the puzzle in place, we just need to work on a few more to really be a contender.”
The next day after returning from Watkins Glen, Memo was back training on his Muscle Milk/M&M Marine/TBM Jet Ski in preparation for this weekend’s DJSA Outlaw Jet Ski series race #4 being held in Suisun, CA. This event is known as the “Widow Maker” because of the violent and aggressive waves that bounce off the ten foot concrete walls surrounding the race course. Gidley, the Muscle Milk Extreme Athlete, currently sits third in the Super 850cc Expert class standings. “This course is unbelievably rough and demanding,” said Gidley. “It is amazing how hard I train to race jet skis, but racing this course is a matter of survival… it is that much harder.”