Memo Gidley and Team Sahlen’s announced today that Memo will no longer be driving for team Sahlen’s and the #42 RX8 in Rolex Grand-Am Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16., after a very successful first half of the season.
Gidley was hired by the team after an initial race tryout last season at Watkins Glen and Salt Lake City where the proven veteran driver immediately made a huge impact by helping to put the #42 Mazda RX8 at the front of the grid. “My first two races with Team Sahlen’s was a good experience and I was excited once an offer was made to me for the following year. I was looking forward to doing everything I could to help the team reach the front of the grid,” said Gidley. “With the speed and professionalism of the other GT teams, I knew we had a ways to go and this would not be an overnight success. Even though I knew success was not going to be instantaneous, I was committed for the entire season to make it happen…regardless of any bumps in the road”
Although the best result has been 6th, the team has had numerous milestones throughout the year as a gauge of how far the #42 program has come. Co-driver Wayne Nonnamaker, qualified his career best fourth three times, and twice was the fastest Mazda qualifier of the field. “Wayne Nonnamaker, my teammate, had me doing the majority of the driving set up work on the car and he was rewarded with some stellar qualifying performances with what my engineer Kate and I had accomplished,” said Gidley. “The team and the mechanics also received numerous compliments from other teams on the speed of the car and the changes they were seeing of Team Sahlens’s before their eyes. All this made me proud of the work we were all doing as a team and will make me miss my guys who worked so hard.”
As far as what is next for Memo Gidley. “I really enjoy racing in the GRAND-AM Series because the racing is so good and I think the formula created by Jim France and his staff is a great balance between performance and technology,” said Gidley. “So now I will look to find a new team to drive for that share the same ideas of what it takes to be successful in racing as I do, and then go out there and win. After all, racing is like a marriage in a sense that you really have to see eye to eye with everybody on your team to be successful…and all the most dominant teams prove this point precisely by having the same drivers over many years. I am confident I will find this soon and get back out there doing what I love in the Rolex Series.”
The team made numerous improvements over the winter, including hiring engineer Kate Crawford to work directly with Memo, and this all made for further success on the track. In pre-season testing the #42 was frequently at the front end of the grid in times, and usually one of or the fastest Mazda at any given test. “Kate and I gelled right away because we both are attention to detail type of people and we demanded this from ourselves and everybody we came in contact with on the team,” said Gidley. “Also, my car chief and all my mechanics really put 100% effort into the teams’ success which made me very happy to see.”