Memo Gidley and the Doran Racing Team had another strong race this past weekend in round #8 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 at Daytona International Speedway. The team first hit the track on Thursday and, like everyone else, were surprised to see sunny Florida anything but as a steady rain fell leading up to the first practice.
Memo’s teammate Dion was first to take the wheel and was turning some impressive times on the wet track. Memo then took over the controls for the last 30 minutes and ended up putting the McDonalds/PR Newswire Dallara/Ford fourth on the speed charts. “The #77 car felt good and the times definitely showed how competitive we were in the wet,” said Gidley. “With that said, we were coming to Daytona with a different setup from the January race and I was really anxious to see how we would stack up in the dry.”
The track continued to dry and as the cars lined up for qualifying, all teams were on dry weather tires. Dion had a nice run and again put the #77 inside the top ten with the seventh-fastest time.
“Up to that point, I personally had not done any dry laps in the car and really did not know what we had for the race,” said Gidley. “I was anxious to use the next day’s warm up to tune the car and get the #77 closer to the front of the field.”
The Doran team also went to work overnight to try to get some more drag off of the car and get the McDonalds car faster down the straights. “We hit the warmup and with a couple of small changes we were already a second faster than what we were able to do in qualifying,” said Gidley. “I was excited and thought Dion and I would have a good car for the race.”
At the green flag, Dion immediately jumped up two positions by making a great start. Dion and the #77 were running anywhere from 5th to 9th before handing the car off to Memo with close to an hour and a half to go. Memo continued to charge where Dion left off. With less than an hour to go, Memo was sitting fourth and that elusive podium looked to be within reach. “I had Oswaldo Negri in front of me and was trying to keep some pressure on him so that I could find a way by,” said Gidley. “However, I made a slight mistake and drove off into the grass on the exit of the high speed kink. This filled up my brake ducts, making the front brakes almost useless which made the car a real handful after that.”
Nonetheless, Gidley continued to charge and brought the #77 McDonalds/PR Newswire car home in one of its best positions this year in fifth place. “That was a difficult race and I was excited that we were still able to finish fifth,” said Gidley. “That elusive podium seems closer and closer and I can’t wait for it to happen. It will sure be well deserved for all of us at Doran Racing.”
And now the Muscle Milk Extreme Athlete is off to round #6 of the DJSA Outlaw Jet Ski series held this weekend at Lake Minden in Nicolaus, CA. After coming off his first big win in the 850cc Expert standup division two weeks ago, Memo has been working hard to continue his great results. “My Dad used to always tell me… never slow down and let the grass grow on the bottom of your boat,” said Gidley. “That was just his way to remind us kids to always work hard to chase our dreams.”