Last weekend, this year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship racing season finally amped up to another level with the Rolex 24. The Rolex 24, which was originally known as 24 hours of Daytona, has been going on since 1966 and has been home to some of the wildest racing moments in history. This is because the event itself is conducive to chaos.
Vehicles that participate in the Rolex 24 are required to be out on the track for a legitimate 24 hours!! Of course, the teams switch drivers out every few hours, but the vehicles are pushed to the limits. Rob Kauffman, a driver for the AF Waltrip team, said, “This is a fantastic environment and this week has been a tremendous experience. This is something every driver in NASCAR should experience. I radioed my team during the middle of the night just to tell them how much fun I was having.”
For racing lovers, endurance based events like the Rolex 24 register as one of the more exciting events on the racing calendar. Watching these races allows viewers and gearheads to witness vehicles getting tested in ways that they usually don’t. In today’s world, it’s all about drag racing and speed. But, this…This is a test of everything. During the weekend, the big winner of the event was the Action Express Racing team, which was backed by Chevy and ECR. The Action Express drivers – Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbose, and Sebastian Bourdais- were ecstatic about the victory; “I think it speaks for itself, really, the Chevy power and the ECR guys did an awesome job. They locked up the entire podium. It was a pretty strong showing this weekend.”
Unfortunately though, this year’s race also displayed one of the more vicious crashes in recent memory. Less than 3 hours into the race, drivers Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli were transported to the Halifax Health Medical Center after Gidley’s Bob Stalling’s Corvette slammed into Gidley’s Ferrari. For the first time since 2004, the race was immediately red flagged while both drivers were attended to. Memo Gidley’s vehicle, which at the time was in 4th place, was in such bad condition that the driver had to be cut from his car before being hauled away.
Darren Law, one of Gidley’s driving teammates, foggily said, “These things happen in racing, but you never expect it to be your car and your team. I don’t know what’s going. I hope he’s OK. I’m pretty sure we’re out of the deal. I don’t really know what happened. I looked up on the TV and saw we were in a crash. We’re going to the hospital now.”
Fortunately, reports have surfaced today that Malucelli has been released from the hospital, but the same can’t be said for Gidley. Gidley is said to have a broken left leg and arm, as well as an unstable fracture in his spine. In the meantime, we should all keep our prayers with Gidley and wish him a strong, speedy recovery.