TKO Motorsports’ Memo Gidley was able to hold off a charging James Sofronas in the final laps Saturday (March 4) to win GT America Powered by AWS Race No. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla. It is Gidley’s third career GT America win, but the first for points. He swept the weekend at Sebring in 2021, but that was an invitational weekend with no points being offered.
“James [Sofronas] was right on me, so I couldn’t backpedal a little bit,” Gidley said after the race. “I had to go, go, go. It was [like] a super-intense series of one-lap sprint races.”
By virtue of setting the fastest lap in Race No. 1 Friday, Sofronas started from the overall pole, but he didn’t last long at the front. Gidley was able to sweep around the outside to take the lead at the first corner.
Turn 3 has a long history of playing a significant role in races in St. Petersburg. That history actually pre-dates the current circuit. Friday was no exception to that rule.
Saturday was no different as the race only lasted a few corners before the yellow came out. This time, Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Andy Wilzoch got loose exiting turn 3 and went hard into the inside wall. The impact ripped a wheel off of Wilzoch’s Porsche. He was out on the spot, but walked away from the crash.
After the green flag came back out flew, Alex Vogel in the MRS-GT Racing Porsche went wide in turn 4 and scraped the wall. That stacked the field up.
Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest tried to make a move for second on Archangel Motorsports’ Todd Coleman in turn 5 and ran into him, resulting in Coleman’s Aston Martin spinning out. The spin created something of a road block.
The contact damaged the left front corner of Chouest’s car. Two corners later, Chouest was in the wall and out of the race to bring out another yellow.
The race restarted with under eight minutes to go. Gidley had to sprint to hold off Sofronas and Daskalos. Unlike Friday, there was little lapped traffic to interfere.
Sofronas was close enough to try to make a move on Gidley on the final lap. However, Gidley took a defensive line to prevent it. From there, Gidley held on through the final corners to win.
The Chouest-Coleman crashes moved Accelerating Performance’s Moisey Uretsky up to second. However, Bell was able to get a good restart and pulled out to a healthy lead while Uretsky had to fight to keep second away from The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell. Any chance of victory for Uretsky ended when he nosed into the tires in turn 4 with two minutes to go. He would end up sixth.
Bell was able to hold on to take the win in his Aston Martin. Ultimately, he was a cut tire half a lap from the finish Friday from a weekend sweep.
GT America teams will take the next few weeks off. They will be back in action at Sonoma Raceway for the third race of the season along with the other SRO America series. That race is scheduled for April 1 at 4 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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