Kitchens to drive for Allison, Carroll By Shawn A. Akers
DENVER, N.C. (Dec. 7, 1998) Meet the newest potential member of the "Alabama Gang." Alabama native Jimmy Kitchens, a late model stock car racing veteran and part-time ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series driver in 1998, has been signed as the driver for a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team to be fielded by Bobby Allison-Dave Carroll Motorsports, beginning in 1999.
Allison is the 1983 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion and one of the original members of the legendary "Alabama Gang" in NASCAR. Allison returns to the NASCAR scene full-time as a part owner of the team. He said he'll serve as a consultant to the team, but will also be involved in the ownership part of it as well.
"I'll be an adviser as far as the racing activities go, and as far as the sponsorship-related activities go, too," Allison said. "But I think I'll be at the race track quite a bit, during races and even on practice and qualifying days.
"I'll be on hand to offer any encouragement and support to the team that I can. The Busch Series is incredibly competitive, and this is just a great opportunity for me to get back involved in the racing end of things. I'm very happy to be taking on this venture."
The deal between the three parties is for three years, with Air Jamaica Vacations as the team's sponsor. Air Jamaica Vacations was a part-time sponsor this past season for Kitchens in the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series. Allison said the team will field Chevrolets for Kitchens out of a race shop in Denver.
A 36-year-old veteran of short tracks around the South -- but mostly in Alabama -- Kitchens lists his hometown as Hueytown, Ala., the same as Allison. He has had the attention of Allison for quite some time.
"I think Jimmy could certainly be a strong member of the Alabama Gang," said Allison, who finished a 27-year NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup career with 84 victories, tied for third with Darrell Waltrip on the all-time list behind arch-rivals Richard Petty and David Pearson. "Jimmy is very well known in this area, and he's won lots and lots of races on short tracks in Dothan, Huntsville, Birmingham, Pensacola, a lot of short tracks in this part of the country.
"He's done an excellent job, and this is an excellent opportunity for him to do well. I don't think he's ever raced in the Busch Series before, but he ran some superspeedway races last year in the ARCA division and he did really well. I think he'll be in for a good season next year in the Busch Series."
Born and raised in Bessmer, Ala., Kitchens drove in seven ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series events in 1998, and had decent results. He managed four top-15 runs in those events, including a sixth-place finish at Atlanta in the season finale in November.
He also finished 12th at both Talladega at Charlotte late in the year, was 16th at Daytona in the season-opener in February, and 15th at Atlanta in March.
Source: NASCAR Online