Jimmy Kite Puts Ethanol Entry Into Indy 500 Field SPEEDWAY, IN., May 21, 2005 -- Jimmy Kite, 29, made his first attempt since 2003 to make the Indianapolis 500 today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The Stockbridge, Georgia-resident...
Jimmy Kite Puts Ethanol Entry Into Indy 500 Field
SPEEDWAY, IN., May 21, 2005 -- Jimmy Kite, 29, made his first attempt since 2003 to make the Indianapolis 500 today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The Stockbridge, Georgia-resident put in four laps at an average of 218.565 mph to place the No. 91 Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing Toyota-powered Dallara 32nd on the grid for the 89th running of the "500". Kite, who was named as the driver of the Ron Hemelgarn-owned Indy car after injuries sustained to Paul Dana (St. Louis) in practice for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 13th, earned a spot in his fifth Indy 500 in his first attempt to qualify the car.
Kite's time was the 32nd fastest of 44 attempts made thus far at the 2.5-mile oval with one day remaining in the four days of Time Trials to make the May 29th race. As has become a hallmark for the Missouri native, Kite's 10-mile qualification attempt showed his immense car control by running unbelievably consistent laps. He opened the four lap run with a time of 41.1718 seconds on the green flag round, the quickest of the four, a 41.1620, followed on lap two. The third and fourth laps were 41.1708 and 41.1983 respectively. The total time on track was 2:44.7107 averaging 218.565 mph.
Should Kite's time stand as one of the 33 fastest through 6 pm on Sunday, it marks the second time in his career that he has started the race on the final of the eleven, three-car rows. However, Kite, who came-up through the short-track, open wheel ranks, is used to fighting for positions over the 200 laps of the Indy 500. In his most recent start in the "500", 2003, Kite also qualified 32nd and raced his way to 13th, the most positions gained by any driver in that race. In his rookie appearance at the Speedway in 1998, Kite became that year's fastest rookie qualifier but did it on the final weekend of qualifications and started 26th. He charged to 11th. The Ethanol Hemelgarn team will use Sunday's practice session to further prepare the car for the following week's race as well as ready the car in case of being bumped from the field in qualifications tomorrow. They will have one final practice session on the morning of Friday, May 27th to fine-tune the No. 91.
Jimmy Kite: "It isn't quite the speeds we wanted to see, in fact this is the slowest I've ever qualified for Indy, but we have a great race car. The Ethanol Hemelgarn guys have been working really hard and have given me a really consistent racecar. It feels really good and I think we'll be really strong in the 500. But that was all that we could get out of it today. It's great to be working with Tim (Wardrop, team engineer) again and we have been real focused on the race. We know where our strengths are and we know where the weaknesses are. The good thing is that our strengths are what you need in the race and the weaknesses we knew would show-up more in qualifying. We tried a lot of different things on Wednesday and Friday and decided to get it in the show and focus on our race setup. That's what we're doing. We're just doing everything we can for Ethanol and Hemelgarn and to get the most out of the car for Paul (Dana). I really have to thank all the guys on the team and at Ethanol because they have shown a lot of faith in me. I'm hoping to repay that next Sunday."
To learn more about Jimmy Kite, please visit www.JimmyKite.com. For the Jimmy Kite Fan Club, log-on to www.JimmyKiteFans.com. For more on the Ethanol Hemelgarn team, visit www.hemelgarnracing.com .