TKO Motorsports’ Memo Gidley led flag-to-flag from pole Friday (Oct. 6) to win GT America powered by AWS Race No. 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his seventh win of the year. With that victory, Gidley clinches the 2023 SRO3 championship.
“What an awesome experience,” Gidley said after the race. “To be out here racing the TKO [Motorsports] Mercedes is just unbelievably awesome. This season has been close all along. Great racing this year; it’s been a nail biter. I can’t wait to get to bed tonight and have a solid sleep.”
Gidley won by 2.648 seconds over SKI Autosports’ Johnny O’Connell. Crowdstrike Racing by Riley Motorsports’ George Kurtz was third, followed by Mishumotors’ Mirco Schultis. GMG Racing’s Kyle Washington was fifth.
For Gidley, 53, the championship is the culmination of a trying 10 years in his career. In 2014, Gidley, then racing for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing in IMSA, was severely injured in a crash in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Blinded by the sun and blocked by another car, he ran his Chevrolet Corvette DP unsighted into the back of a Ferrari driven by Matteo Malucelli that was having mechanical issues.
The Corvette DP was compromised significantly in the crash, which resulted in the race being red-flagged. Gidley had to be cut out of the car and transported straight to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Gidley suffered a broken back in the crash (specifically an unstable spinal fracture), along with arm and leg injuries. The crash resulted in multiple surgeries to repair all of the fractures. The necessary rehabilitation kept him out of racing entirely for more than three years.
Since the end of 2017, Gidley has raced sparingly in sports cars with TKO Motorsports. Last year saw his effort ramp up with a Bentley Continental GT3 in a part-time schedule before going full-time in GT America powered by AWS in a Mercedes this year.
Gidley started from the pole with O’Connell alongside. With the threat of Gidley clinching the title being so high, CRP Racing’s Jason Daskalos made short work of O’Connell for second. Despite that, Gidley was able to pull out a lead of over three seconds.
Later on, O’Connell was able to get Dasaklos back for second, but could nothing with Gidley. The former CART racer was able to slowly pull away from the rest of the pack and set an easy pace. He was able to expand his lead up to nearly eight seconds. The closing laps saw Gidley take it easy en route to victory.
Daskalos technically finished third on the road. However, he was given a five-second post-race penalty for cutting the course in the turns 5-6 chicane. That dropped him to a sixth-place finish.
The GT2 class saw Chicago Performance & Tuning Co.’s Kevin Woods start from pole in his KTM X-Bow GT2. Woods led for nearly the entire first half of the race before Lone Star Racing’s Dan Knox ran him down and took the lead.
Woods fell back briefly, then came back up to Knox. The two ended up battling hard for the win, but Knox reigned supreme in his Texas-based Mercedes-AMG GT2 in seventh overall by 1.389 seconds.
In GT4, The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell started on pole in his Aston Martin. However, Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Jason Bell was right on Newell as soon as he could. At the beginning of the second lap, Bell was able to take over the lead from Newell in turn 1.
Bell was in position to potentially clinch the GT4 championship over Rotek Racing’s Robb Holland. To prevent this, Holland ran hard to try to keep up.
Further back, Blackdog Speed Shop’s Tony Gaples spun exiting turn 11 after he was hit by Kurtz, who was trying to pass Schultis for fourth in SRO3. No penalty was assessed for the incident.
Holland was able to get past Newell for second and did everything he could to keep up with Bell and keep his championship hopes alive. In the end, the SRO3 cars came to his aid.
A draft from Marc Austin allowed Holland to get close to Bell. Then, with three minutes to go, Gidley came through on Hulman Boulevard to lap Bell and Holland for the second time.
Holland was able to get up behind Gidley and take advantage of his slipstream to make a move on the inside of Bell entering turn 7. He was able to make the move stick for the lead. From there, Holland held on to take his seventh class win of the year.
Despite the SRO3 title being decided, there is still one more race to go. That race is scheduled to go green at 8:35 a.m. ET Sunday morning and will be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel, SpeedSport1 and Motorsport.tv.
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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