Gidley Undergoes Surgery
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin on January 26, 2014 | 2:00 A.M. EST
Gidley was running fourth at the time of the incident. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Memo Gidley underwent surgery on his left arm and left leg following a violent crash 2 hours, 47 minutes into the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Gidley, co-driver of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP, continues to be evaluated at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach and will require additional surgery for an unstable fracture in his back before he can be released. Following the incident, Gidley and Matteo Malucelli were transferred to Halifax Health, and were awake and communicating. Malucelli remained in the hospital overnight and was released Sunday and will now travel back to Italy.
Gidley made hard impact with the slowing No. 60 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Malucelli. The race was put under the red flag, the first in the Rolex 24 in 10 years, for nearly an hour while safety crews carefully extracted both drivers from their damaged racecars and cleaned up the debris. The front end of the No. 99 was destroyed and the car came to a stop on the track and the No. 60 lifted in the air from the contact before coming to a rest in a tire barrier.
“As you can imagine, we are devastated about what happened yesterday on track, but are hopeful that our friend and teammate Memo will make a full recovery," said Bob Stallings, team owner. "We want to thank the safety team at Daytona International Speedway for being so diligent in getting Memo out of the car safely and to the hospital. Memo is receiving excellent care from the staff and doctors at Halifax Health. We want to thank everyone for the messages, thoughts and prayers for Memo.”
Gidley, who was driving the car that started from the pole with co-driver Alex Gurney, was running fourth at the time of the impact.
“We’re extremely relieved that our friend Memo is recovering," Gurney said. "That was one scary crash that could have had a much worse outcome. We were able to see him and speak with him this morning. He is one tough guy, and he’s going to pull through this. I told him to take the rest of the day off.”
At the time of the accident, which happened coming out of the "International Horseshoe," drivers had to deal with visibility issues because of the setting sun.
"It was bad. I had my helmet with two visors and was trying to calculate if I should start with the dark visor or clear visor," said Christian Fittipaldi, co-driver of the No. 5 Action Express Corvette Prototype. "Thank God I went with the clear visor because I ended up going two-and-a-half hours, and really needed that for the second part of the stint. But it was very bad for the first part of the stint or for the first 20 minutes until we got parked for a long time. I am 200 percent (sure) Memo had the same problem."
The race resumed at 6:01 p.m. (ET) Saturday under the yellow flag.
Updated: 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday.