AFTER A REMARKABLE RUN OF TOP-10 FINISHES, DORAN RACING'S 2008 ROLEX SEASON CONCLUDES WITH 'ONE OF THOSE RACING THINGS' AT MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Doran Racing's 2008 Rolex Series season concluded this past weekend at Miller Motorsports Park with what team drivers characterized as 'one of those racing things'… a first-lap, first turn multi-car crash that put Memo Gidley into the wall and ended the team's quest for a podium finish.
After a remarkable run of top-10 finishes earlier in the season with a 2-car team – a total of eleven, with eight of them in a row -- Doran Racing chose to focus all its energies on a single-car, three driver effort for the season finale, the SunRichGourmet1000.com at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. Sharing the driving chores in the #77 Kodak Doran/Dallara Ford were regular co-drivers Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger, as well as Burt Frisselle, who co-drove the team's #47 CDOC/Brach's Candy entry earlier in the season. Gidley, who qualified the car 11th on the grid, was at the controls for the start of the race.
"The start was unfortunate because the pole-sitter brake-checked the field and the green flag should never have been thrown," said Gidley. "Despite what happened at Miller, I'm reasonably happy with how the season went. I wouldn't be a racer if I didn't wish it were even better, but coming back to the Doran Racing team for my second season, I saw how we went from a car that was not really competitive to a car that was among the fastest on the track every time I drove it and that has been satisfying. Now that we have a year of working with this new car and aero package, our goal next season will be more consistency, to be fast right off the truck every time. I know how much I want to win, and how much Kevin Doran wants to win, and we have all the elements in place to regularly pop off podium finishes and victories. I have also really enjoyed being around my teamate Brad Jaeger. We have really worked together well this season and have become good friends because of it and Im thankful for that. I cant wait for next season to start! "
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.
"It was the most difficult race weekend of the entire season for the team," said Jaeger. "Going into the race we felt we had an advantage because the team was focusing all its efforts on one car and all of ushad raced at Miller before. But we never quite hit the right setup for the car. Kevin Doran and the engineers worked hard, like they have all season. This was a rebuilding year for the Doran team withnew cars and new mechanics, and while we had difficulties, we were also very competitive at virtually every race. We'll be working hard in the off-season to make the team a true front-runner in 2009."
Sharing the driving duties with Gidley and Jaeger was Burt Frisselle, who 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.
"It was a tough weekend and a hard way to finish the season," said Frisselle. "But Doran Racing is a great team and I'm glad to have had a chance to race with them. We hope to get something going for next year and should have something to announce soon. We had some really great sponsor this year, including Kodak, Brach's Candy and CDOC, and I'd like to thank them very much for their support."
The #77 Kodak Daytona Prototype that the Doran Racing team campaigned throughout the 2008 Rolex Series season is a Doran chassis fitted with Dallara bodywork featuring enhanced aerodynamics and increased downforce. For most of the season, Doran Racing also fielded a second car, the #47 CDOC/Brach's Candy Dallara co-driven by Burt Frisselle and Ricky Taylor. The #47 car made its debut in Mexico City and ran its final race of the season last weekend in the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. 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 the Grand-Am Rolex 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).
While the regular season is over, preparations for 2009 have already begun, with Rolex Series test sessions scheduled for October 27 – 29 and November 11 – 12. Both sessions will take place at the Daytona Motor Speedway in preparation for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. With the recent announcement by NASCAR Holdings that they have purchased the Grand American Road Racing Association, the 2009 Grand-Am season promises to be even bigger and better.