WITH 9 TOP-10 FINISHES SO FAR THIS SEASON, DORAN RACING HEADS WEST TO MEMO GIDLEY'S HOME TOWN TRACK FOR THE ARMED FORCES 250 AT INFINEON
The two-car Doran Racing team has a top-10 streak going – nine total so far this season, six of them in a row – and is looking to improve that to a podium finish in the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Adding to the momentum is the advantage that Infineon is the home track for Memo Gidley, co-driver of the team's #77 Kodak Doran/Dallara Ford. He finished fourth in this event last year driving for another team and was 10th in the series' debut at Infineon in 2006.
"It's about six minutes, 32 seconds from my home," said the Novato, Calif. resident, who co-drives the #77 car with Brad Jaeger. "I have many reasons to like racing at Infineon; it's a good track, and it's been around a long time. It's really challenging with a lot of blind corners, and I really enjoy driving on it. I also like being able to sleep in my own house and more importantly, being able to have a lot of friends and family who don't normally come to races come out to this one. That makes it a lot of fun and I look forward to it. I've been coming here since I started racing, hanging around and hoping to impress someone to get me a ride. I've had a lot of success in other cars here, so I'm hoping to translate that into the Daytona Prototype this year."
Gidley, the widely respected American driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now makes his home in Novato, California, has made a name for himself as one of the most committed drivers in the paddock, driving and winning in everything from karts to Indy Cars and stock cars to prototypes. His co-driver, Brad Jaeger is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University where he was a member of their Formula SAE team, has a racing resume that includes karting, Sports 2000, Skip Barber, F2000, Star Mazda and the Indy Pro Series.
"I've had a lot of success at Infineon over the past couple of years and I'm excited to be racing here again this weekend in the Doran Kodak car," says Jaeger. "I won the Formula Ford 2000 championship at the Infineon round in 2004, and raced there again in the Star Mazda Championship in 2005 and the Indy Pro Series in 2007 and I scored top-10 finishes in both of those races. So I know the track quite well, and know how to do well here, so that can only help the team. We're working hard for a podium finish in the final three races and this would be a great place to make it happen."
Gidley and Jaeger duo have combined to score four of the team's to-10 runs, including a 5th and 10th in the two races held this season at Watkins Glen, as well as 7th in Mexico City and 6th in the second race of the season at Daytona. The Doran Racing Team's second entry, the #47 Brach's Candy/CDOC Dallara Ford co-driven by Burt Frisselle and Ricky Taylor, has contributed five of the top-10 finishes, including its debut in Round 2 at Mexico city where the team finished 9th, followed by an 8th at VIR, 7th at Mid-Ohio, 5th at Barber and 9th in Montreal.
The #47 car had 'one of those races' in the most recent event, at Watkins Glen; after qualifying in 9th place for the start of the 200-mile, Daytona Prototype-only race, the team looked well-positioned for a good finish. However, in the slippery conditions and confusion of the opening lap, Taylor spun and was hit hard by another car causing substantial damage. The Doran Racing crew was able to make enough repairs for the car to continue and finish the race, but finished 17th after spending five laps in the pits. But the Doran Racing team and crew of the #47 car have been working hard to get the car in top shape for this weekend's Infineon event and expect to be competitive.
"The car suffered a substantial amount of damage at The Glen and the team has done a tremendous job to get it back as good – and as fast – as new," says Frisselle. "I've never raced a DP car at Infineon, but had a good result there in a GT car a couple of years ago and we had a great setup for Barber Motorsprots Park, which is a track much like Infineon, so we should be able to unload fast off the truck and we're looking forward to a good result. This is the final race for our great new sponsor, Brach's Candy, and we really want to show them what this team can do and hopefully lure them back for next year."
Frisselle has been racing Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Series since 2004; including a podium finish in his first-ever start in the series. He has scored top-10 and top-5 finishes in each of his four seasons of Rolex competition, including a 2nd place finish at Watkins Glen in 2004. Ricky Taylor is the 19 year-old son of Rolex Series champion Wayne Taylor and, when not in a race car, attends Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida, where he plays on the varsity soccer team. In 2007, Taylor finished second in Skip Barber National Championship with two wins, five poles and five podiums. He won the Skip Barber Southern Series in 2006 with six wins, three poles and 12 podiums
"I had my first experience with the Infineon track last weekend when I attended the Skip Barber Racing School there just to get some laps in and get a feel for the track and the reference points," says Taylor. "And I agree with Burt that it’s a lot like Barber so we should be fast right away, and even those parts that are different are well-suited to the strengths of our Brach's Dallara. It's a great track with lots of high speeds and technical corners and I'm really looking forward to the race."
The two cars the Doran Racing team has been campaigning throughout the 2008 Rolex Series season look the same, but are different underneath. The #47 car is all-Dallara, while the #77 car is a Doran chassis fitted with Dallara bodywork featuring enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. Both cars are powered by 500 horsepower Roush-Yates Ford V-8 engines.
Doran Enterprises is Dallara's official spare parts distributor and approved repair center for that series. In addition, Doran Designs will fabricate certain special parts for the marque. Doran Racing has a successful history of working with Dallara and won the Daytona 24 Hours in 2002 with a Dallara Sportscar LMP1. While Doran Racing has prepared and fielded race cars in a wide variety of series for many years, from Indy cars to NASCAR trucks, the Lebanon, Ohio-based team is particularly noted for its successes in sports car endurance racing, including being the first and only team in U.S. history to win the 24 Hours at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Watkins Glen Six-Hour race in the same year (1998).
The next event, Round 13 on the 2008 Rolex Series schedule, is the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California on August 21 - 23. Activities begin with a 2-hour practice session from 4:45 to 6:45 pm Thursday, August 21. The 15-minute qualifying session takes place from 4:30 to 4:45 pm Friday, August 22 and the 250-mile/102-lap/2 3/4-hour race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:00 pm Saturday, August 23. The race will be broadcast tape-delayed on SPEED TV at 12:00 pm (ET) Sunday, August 24.