DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli are awake and
communicating after being admitted to Halifax Health Medical Center
after a horrific crash Saturday less than three hours into the Rolex 24
at Daytona International Speedway, according to David Hart, IMSA
director of communications.
No further details on possible injuries or care received were provided by the International Motor Sports Association.
No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP slammed into the
Ferrari driven by Malucelli 94 laps into the 24-hour race on Daytona's
infield road course.
Gidley was taken directly to Halifax -
located about a mile from the speedway - bypassing the infield care
center after rescue workers extricated him from the car. Malucelli, who
did not have to be cut from the car, was also transported to Halifax.
race was red-flagged as rescue workers tended to both drivers, placing
them on stretchers then into waiting ambulances. It was the first red
flag in the race since 2004, when heavy rain brought the race to a stop.
The race resumed about 90 minutes after the accident happened.
the time of the wreck, Gidley was running fourth in the race, which was
about to pass the three-hour mark. He was racing down a high-speed
section of the track between Turns 3 and 4, headed into the sun.
Malucelli was ahead of him, reporting to his pits that he was without
power and pulled over to the left.
Gidley, however, slammed into the car as he negotiated that section of the track.
"Hopefully he's OK," Tagliani said. "He's in good hands with the doctors. Let's cross our fingers."
Malucelli, 29, a native of Italy, was running in the top 16 overall and third in the GTLM class at the time of the crash.
difficult to say what happened," said Olivier Beretta, a co-driver in
the No. 62 Ferrari with Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni. "The
sun is going down, and in this corner you don't see very well. I don't
know. Honestly, I don't know. I don't know what happened, but the most
important thing right now is Matteo."
Gidley's car started from
the pole position with Alex Gurney behind the wheel. Jon Fogarty and
Darren Law are the car's other drivers for the race.
The car had extensive front-end damage, and the track was littered with debris.
things happen in racing, but you never expect it to be your car and
your team," Law said. "I don't know what's going on. I hope he's OK. I'm
pretty sure we're out of the deal. I really don't know what happened. I
looked up on the TV and saw we were in a crash. We're going to the
Drivers complained about the sharp glare from the
setting sun in two places -- as they crossed the start/finish line on
the speedway portion of the course, and as they exited Turn 3 in the
infield portion of the course and began accelerating toward Turn 4, a
slight left-hand kink.
Gidley's car struck Malucelli's car just before they reached the kink.
"(The sun) was very, very bad for the first part of my stint," said
Christian Fittipaldi. "I'm 200 percent certain that Memo had that
problem. When he came out of Turn 3, he basically couldn't see anything.
He just nailed the car right in front of him."
Asked if IMSA
officials should have used a yellow flag in the areas affected by sun,
Fittipaldi said, "That's a good question. Very good question, actually.
You have a point."
IMSA officials said they would review the accident after the race.
currently are managing the race and closely monitoring the situation
back in the hospital," said Scot Elkins, IMSA vice president for
competition and technical regulations. "We subsequently will evaluate
The 40-year-old Gidley is an experienced sports car driver who was
born in Mexico but holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico.
was involved in a bad crash in a CART race in 2001 while driving for
Chip Ganassi's team. His car went off course and struck a concrete
bridge abutment. Gidley sustained a broken arm.
experienced in a variety of motor sports but is mostly known for his
accomplishments in open-wheel and sports car racing. He got his start
with Derrick Walker's CART team in 1999 after working as a mechanic for
the Jim Russell racing school.
He moved on to Gerald Forsythe's
team in 2000, then signed on with Ganassi. After moving to sports cars,
he returned to CART with Rocketsports in 2004, and ran a handful of Indy
Racing League events.
In 2005, he raced to victory with Michael
McDowell in the 2005 Grand-Am finale in Mexico City. In 2007, he raced
with Max Angelelli for the SunTrust team.
eighth last year in the ALMS GT championship with the Risi Competizone
team, winning with Berreta at Virginia International Raceway. In 2008
and 2009, Malucelli was part of a team that finished second in class at
the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The crash and lengthy delay
appeared to have shaken many teams and drivers. Sports car veteran Wayne
Taylor, who came out of retirement to help his sons in the Rolex 24,
got emotional as he prepared to get in the car and resume racing.
"As soon as we get started to go again, I'll get in and do my stint,"
Taylor said. "And then I'll be done. I'll be done completely."
58-year-old last raced in 2010 -- at the Rolex -- but was talked into
driving one stint so he could join the lineup with sons with Ricky and
Jordan. Despite his reluctance to do much in the car, Taylor held his
own as he battled Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan.
two-time former overall winner at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, remained
emotional as he addressed the media following his short stint, with his
thoughts immediately turning to Gidley.
"Memo's accident certainly
put a damper on everything for me," Taylor said. "Whenever you see an
accident like that, it puts everything into perspective."
driver Graham Rahal, who joined Dirk Mueller, John Edwards and Dirk
Werner in co-driving the No. 56 BMW Team RLL Z4 GT entry, said he was
anxiously awaiting news about Gidley,
"I hope Memo is OK," said
Rahal, who won the overall title at the Rolex 24 in 2011. "I haven't
heard an update, but that looked nasty when I went by. You never want to
see anything like that, so I hope he's doing just fine."
The early hours of the race, the first Rolex 24 since the two
sanctioning bodies in North American sports car racing -- Grand Am and
the American Le Mans Series -- were unified as the TUDOR United
SportsCar Championship, were marred by accidents.
Scott Sharp got
pushed off course in the "bus stop" chicane on the backstretch early in
the race, and a Porsche nearly struck Sharp's car as he got it moving.
Minutes later, Scott Pruett's airjack operator got caught up in the hose
and was pulled down as Pruett attempted to leave the pits.
Pruett was forced to serve a stop-and-go penalty for the incident. The unidentified crew member was not injured.
"We've got to get it figured out," Ganassi team manager Tim Keene said.
other incidents were reported around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn course,
including a dustup among several GT cars in Turn 3 on the first lap.
story of the first stint was the traffic," Oliver Gavin said. "It was
pretty crazy,and lots of unusual lines being driven. Lots of people are
going on and off, but not thinking when they come back on. It was an
eventual first hour, to be sure."