Gidley needs back surgery after Daytona crash

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm •  Published: January 26, 2014
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Memo Gidley has a broken back that will require surgery after a terrifying accident early in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Gidley's GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team said Sunday the 40-year-old driver will remain at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach until doctors repair an "unstable fracture" in his back. Gidley had surgery on his left arm and leg late Saturday.

"As you can imagine, we are devastated about what happened on track, but are hopeful that our friend and teammate Memo will make a full recovery," team owner Bob Stallings said Sunday. "Memo is receiving excellent care from the staff and doctors at Halifax Health."

Matteo Malucelli also was involved in the two-car crash Saturday near the three-hour mark of the prestigious endurance race. Malucelli continues "to rest comfortably" at Halifax. His team plans to update his status later Sunday.

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 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 like an accordion upon impact.

"That was one scary crash that could have had a much worse outcome," teammate Alex Gurney said. "We were able to see him and speak with him this morning. He is one tough guy, and he's going to pull through this. I told him to take the rest of the day off."