IMSA: Gidley on the road to recovery, says Stallings

IMSA: Gidley on the road to recovery, says Stallings

IMSA

IMSA: Gidley on the road to recovery, says Stallings

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With a series full of close friends and supporters, the status of injured driver Memo Gidley has been at the forefront of the minds for those who witnessed the disturbing crash that temporarily halted last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Gidley’s No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP hit the stalled No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 of Matteo Malucelli at unabated speed, caving in the front of his chassis. The 40-year-old former open-wheel star was cut from the car and transported to the Halifax Health medical center in Daytona Beach, Fla., where he first underwent surgery on his broken left arm and leg.

In an update with team owner Bob Stallings Tuesday morning, the third major issue Gidley is facing, a lower back fracture, also underwent a successful surgical procedure.

“I’m still here at the hospital with Memo; he had surgery last night on his back which ended at about 11 o’clock last night,” Stallings told RACER. “I can’t get into a lot of details, but the doctors were happy with how things went. He’s resting now and they have some more things they’ll need to take a look at probably later today. What I can assure you is he’s getting the best medical attention possible at a great facility. His prospects for recovery are good.”

Known as one of the most positive people in any paddock he visits, Stallings says Gidley has brought the same demeanor to his temporary paddock at Halifax.

“That spirit is very clear here, constantly,” he noted. “Whenever somebody comes in to see him – a doctor, a nurse, a friend – invariably people ask how he’s doing, and although he’s slightly sedated, his automatic response is, ‘I’m doing good; how are YOU doing?’ It’s just a natural extension of who he is and how big his heart is. We’ve gotten quite a kick out of that.”

Ferrari driver Malucelli was fortunate to leave the hospital on Monday. Gidley, however, owing to the severity of his injuries, could remain in Daytona Beach into February before a transfer to a facility near his home in Northern California becomes possible.

“A lot depends on the next couple of days,” Stallings explained. “The first step is to get him in a stable place where everything that needs to be done here is done and we’re not really at that place. And once we get there, the feeling I have is it will take another week here, and at that point, we’ll look at getting him home. We’re in contact with a couple of specialists out there and he’d go to a transition facility for a little while and then we’ll see how the healing goes before the rehab process starts.

“One thing I can say is everyone here believes he will begin a rehab process and that he’ll be back, pretty close, to 100 percent.”

Stallings is one of the kinder souls in motor racing, and along with his close-knit team, the Missouri native was hit hard by Gidley’s injuries. Heading into the Rolex 24, the No. 99 “Red Dragon” was only scheduled to compete at the four Tequila Patron-sponsored North American Endurance Championship rounds, yet with a chassis-destroying crash and a long road to recovery for Gidley on his mind, motor racing has been shuffled down Stallings’ list of immediate priorities.

“We’re a pretty close group, and honestly, everyone’s still in shock,” he added. “There’s a lot of emotions everyone’s dealing with. I’ve had some talks with [team manager Terry Wilbert] about what to do next, but we’ve been pretty consumed with what’s going on here with Memo. Once we get things more stabilized here at the hospital, I’d expect to talk more with Terry on where we go from here later in the week and figure out what our next step is.” 

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