Grand-Am Rolex series star, Memo Gidley, like he is known to do, turned an off weekend into a race weekend by competing in Round One of the Superkarts North series race this past weekend at Infineon Raceway. Competing in the S3 Shifter Kart division, Memo started off morning practice being quickest and then went on to put his STA, Mike Derosiers Motorsports GP Kart second on the grid and on the front row to start the first of two 10 lap heat races that would lead up to the 20 lap main event. “I was feeling really good about the changes we had made on my GP kart the day before in practice while the track was getting tacky,” said Gidley. “However, practice you never really know the ultimate speed of your competition…qualifying is a true gauge and I was very pleased to be starting on the front row in second place.”
As the start lights went out in heat one, Gidley rocketed off the line and pulled outside pole sitter Steve Reasoner going into turn one. Gidley went to the ouside, only to square off and put his kart to the inside accelerated towards turn two. Gidley held his line and now was the new leader exiting turn two. Although under extreme pressure, Gidley held tough and brought his #97 GP kart home first with Jacob Neal moving up to second at the finish.
Because of his win in heat one, Gidley started on pole in heat two. After a great start, Gidley went on uncontested crossing the finish line first after building up a gap to second place Jacob Neal and looked to be getting an advantage over the S3 field. “I was fast in the heat races and told my tuner that I did not want to make any changes…I thought we had a package to win,” said Gidley.
Gidley started on pole for the 20 lap final and when the start lights went out got another perfect standing start into turn one. However, it soon became apparent that this final race would be more difficult than the earlier heat races. “I knew I was in trouble when second place, Tommy Thompson, effortlessly passed me after only three laps and started pulling away,” said Gidley. “I tried to focus on getting the position back but just seemed to be fighting the kart.” Gidley would also loose another position to Jacob Neal and found himself doing everything he could to keep the rest of the 20 Kart field from closing the gap.
As the laps wound down Gidley held strong and brought it home in a strong third position. Although disappointed, Gidley was nevertheless happy with his performance. “Of course winning is the priority and I was less happy in third!,” said Gidley. “Hey, these guys are full time kart racers, they are very good. I like being challenged by guys that want to win as bad as me, that’s why I do kart races like this…along with racing cars.”
Memo Gidley currently drives for the #77 McDonalds Daytona Prototype in the Rolex Grand-Am Series for Doran Racing. The next race takes place at the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway April 24-25th.