Gidley passes Indy test

Memo Gidley may not have been selected to replace the injured Shinji Nakano in CART, losing out to Bryan Herta, but he has impressed teams in the Indy Racing Northern Lights series by passing his rookie test for the Indy 500

Gidley passes Indy test

Gidley has not signed up for the race or qualifying, but now has hopes that his performance at the track will lead to a deal.

Rookies for the race have to pass a test which involves running consistently around the 'Brickyard' in various speed brackets, and if Gidley was to be able to compete he would have to find a way to run during the session.

Despite a lack of budget, the sometime CART driver visited several teams to secure a run in a car, before Dale Pelfrey agreed to some seat time.

"I've been going around seeing shops trying to get something going," said Gidley, "but most teams told me the necessary seat time would cost between twenty and fifty-thousand dollars." Gidley was undeterred, however.

"I don't have that kind of money, and so it wasn't until 10:30 Sunday night that Dale Pelfrey said 'Yeah, I'll put you out on the track no problem, be there at 7 a.m. tomorrow. I hope you can bring some guys with you to work on the car, because we're shorthanded.' So I changed the pedals and helped to get the car ready for the track."

After finding the seat, the test itself no doubt seemed like the easy part. "The faster I went, the better I felt," claimed Gidley.

"I have gone 200 on the straight at Road America, but I had never entered a turn at faster than 145 before. You're jamming right along when you enter a turn at over 200, I mean you're really cooking. The last session, I wanted to go a lot faster, but the officials ask you to maintain a steady speed just above 210 miles an hour."

Gidley is currently in negotiations with Pelfrey to give him a drive for qualifying in May. The recent up-and-down career of Gidley suggests that this is by no means a certainty, but until then he will be pleased for the chance he had to impress at the rookie test.

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