MILLVILLE, New Jersey – April 30, 2009 – With the confidence and momentum of a well-earned top-5 finish in last weekend’s Bosch Engineering 250 at VIR, the #77 Doran Racing / McDonald’s team, with co-drivers Brad Jaeger and Memo Gidley, are already at New Jersey Motorsports Park preparing for an even stronger performance in this weekend’s Verizon Wireless 250.
“This is an awesome track with a superb layout that I really enjoyed driving on last year,” says Gidley. “Even though it was brand-new and there was no landscaping so the dust was a real problem every time a car dropped a wheel off the track, there was still a surprising amount of grip. Just looking around you can see all kinds of improvements, so I can’t wait to get in the car and out onto the track. We’ve been fast right off the truck in both races so far this year and I think that speaks to the level the team and car are at now. It doesn’t take a lot of work to get up to speed, we’re fast and competitive right from the start and that should translate into a good shot at a podium finish in New Jersey.”
Gidley, who co-drives the #77 Doran Racing/McDonald’s/Doran-Dallara Ford, is a talented and widely respected American driver who was born in La Paz, Mexico and now makes his home in Novato, California. He has made a name for himself as one of the most committed drivers in the paddock, driving and winning in everything from karts to Indy Cars and stock cars to prototypes. 2009 will mark Gidley’s fifth season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series DP class, and his third season with Doran Racing.
Brad Jaeger is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and recent graduate of Vanderbilt University where he was a member of their Formula SAE team. His racing resume includes karting, Sports 2000, Skip Barber, F2000, Star Mazda and the Indy Pro Series. He co-drove his first prototype race for the Doran team in the 2007 season finale at Miller Motorsport Park and was Gidley’s full-time co-driver during the 2008 season.
In this event last year, after running consistently in the top-5 in pre-race practice sessions, the #77 Doran Racing machine was set for a strong run in the race until brake problems forced the car to pit for lengthy repairs mid-way through the race; the #77 car was ultimately credited with a 14th-place finish. During the 2008 season, the Doran Racing team scored a remarkable streak of eleven top-10 finishes, eight of them in a row.
“The big story last year was all the dust clouds that got kicked up every time a car dropped a wheel off the track; it was like driving blindly at top speed through a wall and hoping there were no stalled cars on the other side,” said Jaeger. “Now that they’ve got sod down, it should be a fun event. I really enjoyed the track layout when we raced there last August. We had a good setup last year and I think our new aero body panels and increased downforce should let us fight for a podium finish.”
Round 3 on the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule is the Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, May 1 ? 3. On-track activities begin Friday, May 1 with several practice sessions. The 15-minute Daytona Prototype qualifying session takes place 1:45 pm – 2:00 pm Saturday, May 2. The green flag for the start of the 250-mile / 2 3/4-hour Verizon Wireless 250 is scheduled to wave at 1:00 pm, Sunday, May 3. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED TV.