FORT WORTH, Thursday, October 5, 2000 - Within moments a stunning first victory can become yet another defeat. There he sat, Jimmy Kite, helmeted head in hands, against the Kentucky Speedway's new pit wall. The blood still surging with the ...
FORT WORTH, Thursday, October 5, 2000 - Within moments a stunning first victory can become yet another defeat. There he sat, Jimmy Kite, helmeted head in hands, against the Kentucky Speedway's new pit wall. The blood still surging with the excitement of leading his first Indy Racing Northern Light Series event since his rookie year in 1997. But, after leading 16 laps, including the one that the engine of his #27 Aramis/ Blueprint Racing Special let go, Kite's black and gold G Force sat hushed while the race went on.
"What do I have to do? We cannot buy a break this year. The Aramis/ Blueprint guys were awesome! Our second pit stop was incredible. I really wanted this." Those were Kite's words immediately following the Belterra Resorts Indy 300. It would take weeks before Kite, and the whole Blueprint Racing crew, were able to get past the disappointment and see what they had accomplished.
"At the beginning of the year people didn't know what to make of this team," said Blueprint Racing co-owner Keith Sanders. "We hired Jimmy right after Disney and the people in the pits started looking a little closer. We had Brad [McCanless, team manager and engineer] and a new 2000 G Force. We also had a record of new drivers and new promises every year. I think the runs we showed at Indianapolis, Atlanta and then at Kentucky started to make everyone take notice. They started to see we are real."
Now, Blueprint Racing takes the #27 G Force to the season-finale Excite 500k at Texas Motor Speedway with an eye towards revenging the Kentucky loss.
"Now everyone knows what we can do," offered Kite. "Everyone has seen first-hand what we have been telling them; this Blueprint team is the real thing. We went from the middle of the pack at Kentucky to the front in just a few laps and then, just to prove we weren't kidding, we made up a lap and raced to the front again! Maybe this time we can go into Texas and just do it the easy way. Start upfront, run upfront and get the race win."
Kite sees that he still has some unfinished business with Texas as well. In June the team was coming off a "Month of May" at Indianapolis where the team was always quick, if not always lucky, and saw Texas as the chance to show what it could do. However, within laps of his first time on the track, Kite hit a depression in the track's turn-four that had also sent Davey Hamilton into the wall. The end result was a charbroiled, red G Force. The team was then forced into its 1999 G Force back-up car. In a drafting race at the speeds being turned at the high-banked 1.54 mile Texas oval, the 1999 car was just not able to compete with the sleeker 2000 models.
"We felt like we could have gotten a win in Texas in June, up until something jumped up and bit us. The first race there this year was great and I want to go back and be a bigger part of that. This time, with the 2000 G Force chassis and the momentum of Kentucky, I know we can."
"I have been very satisfied with the performance of everyone on the team," said long-time Indy Racing owner Ed Rachanski. "We had some very good runs this season and I'm looking forward to Blueprint's challenge in this last race."
Kite made a commitment to himself when he signed on with the Bedford Park, Illinois-based Blueprint Racing Enterprises. He was committed to taking the Rachanski and Sanders owned race team to victory lane at least once before the end of the season. Texas is the final chance for the Stockbridge, Georgia driver.
"Kentucky was our race," reflected Kite. "The car was on rails and we could do whatever we wanted. We had two wins this year that didn't happen, Kentucky and Las Vegas. We didn't run too badly here at Texas in June with the '99 Blueprint car so with the 2000 G Force we should be in good shape. We aren't running for points or anything so, the Blueprint Racing team is just going to go for one thing... the win."