IRL: Indy 500: Jimmy Kite Bump Day report

Jimmy Kite in Indy 500 after year of waiting INDIANAPOLIS, May 18, 2003 - Most of the drivers that remained to make qualifying runs for the 87th Indianapolis 500 had been waiting since opening day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 4th....

Jimmy Kite in Indy 500 after year of waiting

INDIANAPOLIS, May 18, 2003 - Most of the drivers that remained to make qualifying runs for the 87th Indianapolis 500 had been waiting since opening day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 4th. The wait has been much longer for three-time Indianapolis 500-starter Jimmy Kite. The Stockbridge, Georgia-resident has been waiting since rain shortened his 'Month of May, 2002' while next in line to qualify. Kite's wait came to an end this afternoon when he successfully qualified with a four-lap average of 224.195 mph in the #18 PDM Racing Dallara-Chevrolet. He will start 32nd in the 33-car field for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on Sunday, May 25th. Today was not without drama, however, as on his first scheduled qualifying run, Kite ran out of fuel after completing two laps in excess of 225 mph.

"I've been waiting a year for it to stop raining," laughed Kite following the 6 o'clock closing of the track. "Last year that sound [the gun shot that marks the end of each day's activities] was the worst thing I'd ever heard. This year, it was the best. The PDM crew did an awesome job and I'm just thrilled to be in the show. I'm ready to go racing. I've missed race day here for the last two years and I'm ready to go."

The 27 year-old has been in the car since opening day but a small budget keep the popular driver in the garage more than on the track. PDM's strategy called for limited runs to keep costs down. Kite put just over 100 laps on the famed 2.5-mile speedway in preparation for qualifications compared to the hundreds circulated by his competitors. However, in true racer fashion, he got the car up to speed quickly.

"We've had limited track time because the budget isn't there to just go do hundreds of laps like Ganassi or Penske," continued Kite from inside the legendary 'Gasoline Alley'. "We have to use what we have to the maximum and no one can get more speed for the dollar than Paul (Diatlovich, PDM co-owner) and Larry (Arnold, PDM, co-owner). The car we have might not have all the bells and whistles but I can promise you no one could come over here and do anymore with it than we are. I'm looking forward to Sunday so we can reward all of this hard work with a strong race. It'll take care of some unfinished business for all of us here."

Kite began his career racing quarter-midgets at the age of eight and worked his way up through mini-sprints, USAC midgets, sprint cars and Silver Crown cars to the Indy Racing League. He is a five-time national champion in various open-wheel series with countless victories. He has a career total of 22 Indy Racing events and $1,232,000 in career IRL earnings.

More information on PDM Racing, please visit www.pdmracing.com.

-www.DarkhorseAutosport.com

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Kite