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Crash and Extrication at Daytona International Speedway

APDaytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli were transported to a hospital Saturday following a two-car accident right before the three-hour mark of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Gidley, driving for the pole-winning GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team, had to be cut out of the No. 99 Corvette.

The accident occurred when Gidley plowed into the slower Ferrari, from the GT Le Mans class, driven by Malucelli. The cars were heading into the kink in the infield portion of Daytona International Speedway and driving into the glare of the sun.

Malucelli's car had lost power — he was definitely off the pace — and his team said he radioed he was pulling out of the way as the cars headed into a high-speed turn.

The race was red-flagged as emergency workers tended to both drivers. They were placed onto stretchers, loaded into ambulances and taken to Halifax Health Medical Center, located roughly a mile outside the race track.

"This stuff, it happens, it's racing. But you never expect it to be your car, your team," said Gidley teammate Darren Law. "We were running good. But the biggest concern is that Memo is OK. They haven't given us a whole lot of indication of what's going on other than they are taking him to the hospital."

Olivier Beretta, Malucelli's teammate on the Risi Competizione team, saw a replay of the accident and wondered if the glare played a role in the wreck.

"It's difficult to say because it's the sun going down, and in this corner you don't see very well," Beretta said. "I don't know. I honestly don't know. The most important thing right now is Matteo, the rest I don't care. It's just Matteo and the other driver."

The clock ticked off roughly 90 minutes under combined red and yellow flag following the accident before racing resumed. The sun had gone down and the drivers had turned on their headlights by the time the field went green again.

The bizarre accident was yet another disappointment for the GAINSCO team, which was the surprising pole winner on Thursday despite limited preseason testing and a thin budget that has the organization planning to run only five of the 13 events in the in the inaugural United SportsCar Championship season.

The odds were stacked against the GAINSCO team winning the race — since 1994 only three pole winners have reached Victory Lane in the twice-around-the-clock endurance event — but a strong showing would have sufficed.

Although the team won the pole in 2007 and finished second in 2008, it has finished no better than seventh since and had DNF's in 2010 and was 89 laps off the pace in 2012.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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