TKO Motorsports’ Memo Gidley led flag-to-flag Saturday (April 29) to win the first GT America powered by AWS race at NOLA Motorsports Park. It is his third GT America win of the year.
“It’s a surprise [for us],” Gidley told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “We worked really hard on the TKO Motorsports [No.] 101 Mercedes. We did a couple of days [of] testing here, and I never really felt that we were quite right. It wasn’t until qualifying that I felt that we had nailed it.”
Gidley’s margin of victory was 13.339 seconds over CRP Racing’s Jason Daskalos. Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson was third, followed by Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports’ George Kurtz. Todd Treffert was fifth.
Gidley won the pole Saturday morning for the race and got a good jump on Adelson to open a gap. Daskalos was able to get the jump on Adelson and took second-place away in turn 3 on the first lap.
Gidley and Daskalos eventually pulled away from the pack in an attempt to settle things among themselves. However, Daskalos’ tires began to wear out and he could no long hang with Gidley. As a result, Gidley ran off and hid.
Daskalos fell back to Adelson and RealTime Racing’s Anthony Bartone. Kurtz didn’t have the best of races, but was able to run the group down as well to make for a four-car battle.
The four-car scrum for second got physical in the closing laps. Kurtz was able to pass both Adelson and Bartone to take third with two laps to go in turn 1.
Later that lap, Bartone wanted his spot back. He had a run and got to the inside of both drivers. While the pass on Adelson was clean, not so much on Kurtz.
Contact was made between the two drivers. Kurtz did a half-spin, but resumed. Bartone came out of the mess in fourth as Adelson was able to get his spot back.
Bartone actually finished the race fourth on the road, but was assessed a drive-through penalty for causing the wreck. As the penalty was assessed after the race ended, it reverted to a 44-second time penalty, equal to a drive-through penalty. The penalty dropped him from fourth to seventh.
In GT4, Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Elias Sabo won the pole in his Aston Martin Vantage GT4, but he didn’t have an easy go of it. Defending GT4 champion Ross Chouest immediately put the pressure on Sabo for the lead. Sabo’s teammate Jason Bell was close behind, as was Archangel Motorsports’ Todd Coleman.
Eventually, Sabo and Chouest were able to pull away from the rest of the rest of the GT4 pack. Things were looking great for Sabo until he slid off the track 13 minutes into the race and caked up his grille with grass.
The unscheduled trip to the grass allowed Chouest to take over the class. Given how he and Sabo had left the rest of the class in their dust, he had a five-second over Coleman. Sabo ended up all the way back in eighth.
Chouest’s margin of victory was 7.691 seconds over Bell. Rotek Racing’s Robb Holland was third in his Porsche, just two-thousandths of a second ahead of The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell. Sabo recovered from his trip to the grass to finish fifth.
By setting the fastest lap of the race, Gidley earned the pole for Race No. 2 as well. That race is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning and will be streamed 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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