TKO Motorsports’ Memo Gidley clinched the 2023 GT America SRO3 championship Friday with his seventh win of the year. That race saw him lead flag-to-flag from the pole.
On Sunday morning (Oct. 8), Gidley had to sweep around polesitter George Kurtz on the outside of turn 1 to take the lead. From there, Gidley opened up a small advantage and held on to it to earn his eighth win of the year and the weekend sweep.
“[The year] has been a roller coaster for sure,” Gidley told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “This morning, I knew that we were going up against George Kurtz in the Riley car, which is really, really fast. I wanted to win and I knew I needed to make it happen in the first couple of laps on cold tires.”
Kurtz ended up earning the overall pole for the race by virtue of having the fastest lap in Race No. 1. On the start, Gidley went deep into the braking zone for turn 1 and managed to get ahead of Kurtz.
Meanwhile, trouble broke out behind. Mishumotors’ Mirco Schultis started third, but dropped a spot under braking for turn 1. He was then hit by Kyle Washington and spun out. The wreck also collected Daskalos and Lone Star Racing’s Dan Knox. Everyone was able to continue, but lots of time and positions were lost.
Further back, Adelson, who skipped Race No. 1 on Friday, charged up from the rear of the field to get up to third in the opening minutes. He was driving the same car that was used in Saturday’s Indianapolis 8 Hour, repaired after fuel system issues.
Gidley expanded his lead up to as much as four seconds over Kurtz. Late in the race, the gap shrank under two seconds. Gidley then poured it on to wrap up the weekend sweep.
GT2 saw brief trouble even before the start of the race. Chicago Performance & Tuning Co.’s Kevin Woods briefly pulled off the circuit during the first pace lap. However, he was able to resume after a quick reset. As per SRO America rules, he was able to retake his grid position.
Knox started from the class pole in his Mercedes, but he ended up getting caught up in the aforementioned crash in the first turn. That allowed Woods to take over the lead in the three-car field.
Effectively, the incident decided the race in the class. Woods drove up as high as seventh overall after dispatching drivers involved in the incident. He fell down the order a bit as the race continued on, but still managed to take the class win in 11th. Woods ended up 35.585 seconds ahead of GMG Racing’s CJ Moses at the finish.
In GT4, Rotek Racing’s Robb Holland won the pole for the race and knew that if he wanted to win the championship, he had to win the race and hope that Jason Bell finished third or worse. As a result, he was charging from the drop of the green flag.
The GT4 class avoided the turn 1 wreck, but was another incident in the aftermath of that incident. Exiting turn 2, The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell and The Racer’s Group’s Tim Savage collided and spun. Both drivers were able to continue, but it backed up much of the GT4 field.
Bell was right on Holland’s tail and a fierce battle that spanned nearly the entire race erupted. With everything at stake, Holland made the decision to hold off Bell, but try to back off his pace so that Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest could catch up.
That strategy resulted in a three-car race for the GT4 lead. Chouest was able to get all the way to Bell’s rear bumper, but was never able to get alongside the defending GT4 champ.
Meanwhile, Bell was still working on Holland for the lead. Holland was forced to take defensive lines in his Porsche in order to block Bell from making a move for the lead.
The SRO3 teams came through the battle a couple of times during the race. They would split the leaders at times, but once they were through, the trio would come back together.
Bell would try to charge up to Holland, but could not get alongside Holland’s Porsche. The trio spent the entire second half of the race in something resembling a stalemate.
After 40 minutes of battling, Holland managed to hold on to take his eighth GT4 win of the year. However, Bell was able to hold on to successfully defend his GT4 championship by two points.
Holland’s margin of victory was three-tenths of a second over Bell. Chouest was third, then Newell. Blackdog Speed Shop’s Tony Gaples was fifth in his Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
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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