A year after Daytona crash, Gidley still hopes to race again

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) It’s been a year since Memo Gidley’s frightening accident at Daytona International Speedway. And he doesn’t remember anything about it.

Gidley said Saturday during the Rolex 24 at Daytona that he has watched the replay numerous times and feels as if ”somebody else was driving.”

”The accident itself, I feel sorry for who was in the car,” he told Fox Sports. ”It just happened to be me.”

Gidley was injured roughly three hours into the endurance race and spent 10 days at nearby Halifax Health recovering from a broken left leg, broken left elbow, broken left heel and a compression fracture in his lower back. He has been rehabbing in Northern California, working to get back on the track.

”I’m very hungry,” he said. ”It’s been a year and I’m watching the race on TV now. It’s really such a great memory. We all know when we’re doing things you have higher chance of an injury. That’s part of it. But I definitely want to get back out there, but No. 1 is to get back to 100 percent strong or nearly 100 percent strong before I can make that happen.”

Gidley was driving the pole-winning car into an infield kink and facing directly into the setting sun when the crash occurred. As Gidley tried to pass a slower car, he pulled to the left and didn’t see Matteo Malucelli off the pace. He drove directly into Malucelli’s Ferrari at nearly full speed.

Gidley had to be cut out of the No. 99 Corvette, which crumpled during the high-speed impact.

Although Gidley can’t recall the accident, he understands why people would think the setting sun may have been a factor in the crash.

”It does look like something that would have, maybe in a way, (caused the wreck),” he said. ”It wasn’t like there were five or six cars around me. There was only one car ahead of me, and he darted to the right, and I darted to the left, which was the standard procedure. But I never saw that car there. So yeah, maybe the sun definitely had some sort of impact.”

Bob Stallings Racing, which fielded Gidley’s car nicknamed the ”Red Dragon,” shuttered operations in the United SportsCar Championship.

The Stallings team is scheduled to return to the track in the Pirelli World Challenge’s GTS class. The new ”Red Dragon” will debut in March at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Gidley’s former teammate Jon Fogarty will be behind the wheel.

Gidley, meanwhile, plans to drive again. He’s just not sure when it will happen.

”The biggest thing is just time,” he said. ”The No. 1 thing is your body is a miracle thing. With time, it figures out how to get back.”