A little over five hours in to the inaugural race of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and it has already been an emotional rollercoaster. The yellow flag is out for the third time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this time for a spinner at the entrance to the East Horseshoe.
As soon as the green flag fell, drivers were hard at it, driving as if this were a sprint race and not a 24 hour endurance event. As the sun started to sink, the #62 Ferrari, being driven by Matteo Malucelli had slowed off the pace and Malucelli was sticking to the left side of the track just past the kink. Memo Gidley, at the wheel of the #99 Gainsco Chevy was most likely blinded by the setting sun and slammed hard into the back of the #62.
Moments later, the race was red flagged as emergency crews rushed to the scene. Malucelli was able to get out of his damaged race car under his own power, while Gidley had to be extracted. Both drivers were sent directly to hospital rather than the infield care centre. Everyone at the circuit was concerned about Gidley, as his car suffered significant front end damage in the devastating crash.
Early, unofficial reports are that Gidley is conscious and talking. IMSA are promising an update on both drivers shortly.
Until then, enjoy some shots from earlier in the afternoon.