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Two hospitalized after 24 Hours of Daytona crash

DAYTONA BEACH — Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli were admitted to a hospital Saturday night for further testing after a two-car accident near the three-hour mark of the 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway.

IMSA officials said both drivers were awake and communicating but gave no other information about their conditions.

Gidley was with the pole-sitting GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team. He was cut out of the No. 99 Corvette prototype, which crumpled when he plowed into the back of Malucelli's Ferrari.

The cars were heading into the kink in the infield portion of the track facing into the sun. Malucelli's car had apparently lost power — his team said he radioed he was pulling out of the way — as the cars headed into a high-speed turn.

Gidley tried to duck left under another lapped car, apparently didn't see Malucelli, and hit the Ferrari at nearly full speed.

The race, which ends at 2:10 this afternoon, was red-flagged as emergency workers tended to both. They were taken to Halifax Health Medical Center.

"This stuff, it happens, it's racing. But you never expect it to be your car, your team," said Gidley's teammate Darren Law.

Olivier Beretta, Malucelli's teammate on the Risi Competizione team, saw a replay of the crash 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."

"At that point, conditions were really hard," driver Christian Fittipaldi said. "The sun was setting. There were two points on the track where you couldn't see anything."

Through nine hours, the No. 5 Corvette Prototype team that included IndyCar driver and St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais held the lead.

SportsCar Challenge: Shelby Blackstock and Ashley Freiberg were awarded the win when Turner Motorsports was disqualified in postrace inspection. Freiberg became the first woman to win overall in series history, and it was also the first win for Blackstock, the son of singer/actor Reba McEntire.

Two hospitalized after 24 Hours of Daytona crash 01/25/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 25, 2014 11:58pm]
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