IRL: Indy 500: Kite strings

Kite Strings- notes and quotes on Jimmy Kite 18 Royal Spa- PDM Racing Dallara-Chevrolet the event 87th Running of the Indianapolis 500 the driver Jimmy Kite age: 27 hometown: Stockbridge, Ga. birthplace: Effingham,...

Kite Strings- notes and quotes on Jimmy Kite 18 Royal Spa- PDM Racing Dallara-Chevrolet

the event 87th Running of the Indianapolis 500

the driver
Jimmy Kite
age: 27
hometown: Stockbridge, Ga.
birthplace: Effingham, Ill.
marital status: single
helmet color: red and blue with lightning bolt pattern
uniform color: yellow and black with Impact Racing and Royal Spa embroidered logos

the ride
car name: #18 Royal Spa- PDM Racing Special
chassis: Dallara
engine: Chevrolet
tires: Firestone Firehawks
car color: red, white and blue
car owners: Paul Diatlovich and Larry Arnold
chief mechanic: Paul Murphy

the numbers
2003 starting position: 32nd (qualifying average of 224.195 mph turned on Bump Day)
garage: B30
pit stall: 30
career IndyCar starts: 22
career IndyCar earnings: $1,232,000

the race stats
Indy 500 starts: four (1998, 1999, 2000, 2003)
highest Indy 500 start: 25th (2000)
highest Indy 500 finish: 11th (1998)
career Indy 500 earnings: $679,300
Indy 500 Accolades: 1998 Fastest Rookie Qualifier

unique notes

* Jimmy Kite is the only driver of the 1998 rookie class to be participating in this year's '500'

* Jimmy Kite dreamed of winning the 2000 Indy 500 at age six. He w as a regular in the top-10 of practice speeds in 2000 and was closing on the leaders when an engine problem ended his day.

* The greatest number of positions ever gained in the '500' was 32 by Zeke Meyer (1932). Kite would win the race by tying that record.

* No driver has ever won the '500' in car number 18

* No driver living in the state of Georgia has ever won the '500'

* six drivers have won Indy at age 27 including: four time winner Rick Mears- who won his first (1979) at that age, two-time winner Helio Castroneves (2002), Gaston Chevrolet (1920)- part of the family which started the Chevrolet automobile brand which powers Kite, Tommy Milton (1921), Peter DePaolo (1925), Bill Cummings (1934)

the latest

parading around
Jimmy Kite will have Miss Junior Teen America Meghan Bryan and Miss Teen America Lacey Minchew as his personal guests for the 2003 "500 Festival Parade" held on Saturday, May 24. Miss Bryan and Miss Minchew have been guests of Kite's and PDM Racing since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Community Day on Wednesday, May 21. Like Kite, Minchew is from Georgia. Kite lives in the south Atlanta suburb of Stockbridge while Minchew lives in Marietta, north of the city.

fans launch kite on internet
Fans of Jimmy Kite launched www.jimmykitefans.com on Friday, May 23rd. The web site, created by longtime IndyCar supporter Jill Pochik, will give fans an inside look into Kite's career through news, photos, career bio and more. While unofficial, the site will enjoy significant material support from Jimmy Kite Motorsports.

lightning strikes
Jimmy Kite has long used a lightning bolt as his personal logo. A lightning bolt has replaced the 'i' in Kite for a number of years in the logo that appears on Kite's helmet and other branded items. Lightning bolts have also been used to decorate his helmet for a number of years and a new helmet and paint scheme unveiled this year mark a significant advancement in the design. Indianapolis helmet painter Hot Marks used lightning flashes on a backdrop of 'ghost clouds'- appearing and disappearing based on the angle of light hitting the red and blue helmet to make Kite's helmet unique. The vibrant red and blue helmet has the Jimmy Kite logo in chrome on the front.

sharp dressed man
Jimmy Kite has enjoyed a long friendship and business relationship with safety pioneer Bill Simpson. Simpson's new company, Impact Racing Products, recently signed Kite as one of its first representatives to wear a new line of helmets, firesuits and shoes and to use a safety harness all designed by Impact. Kite's new Impact "Vapor" helmet is significantly lighter than previous models he has worn in his career. A new black and yellow firesuit was delivered just in time for Kite's Carb Day appearance at the Speedway and was an immediate hit. The vibrant colors and Impact lightning bolt-stylized 's', as well as the Royal Spa moniker on the suit, have met with rave reviews from fans.

back to school
Jimmy Kite visited the St. Lawrence school in Indianapolis on Wednesday, May 21st. The 27 year-old signed autographs for the kindergarten to eighth grade students, participated in a school parade and oversaw a "big wheel" race for the younger children.

'i must be on the last row'
Jimmy Kite will start from a career low 32nd in this year's "500". However, taking it all in stride Kite- as well as his colleagues on the 11th and final row of the three-abreast start-took good natured ribbing at the annual "Last Row Party" thrown by the Indianapolis Press Club on Carb Day night. The roast-like event garnered Kite his first check of the month, for 32 cents, to highlight his starting position, an "11th Row Society/Indianapolis Motor Speedway jacket and barbs from emcee Bob Jenkins.

quotes

about quals
"I've been waiting a year for it to stop raining. 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. Bump Day to me is like Pole Day is for Castroneves. Seems like I am always a part of it."

about the race
"We just have to play it cool at the start. We know we are down a little on power and we are a long way back. The PDM crew worked pit stops on Carb Day [Thursday, the final day of practice for the Indianapolis 500] and they were really, really quick. We'll need those quick stops for sure. I plan to hang back a little at the start, tuck in behind Robby (McGehee who is starting 31st) and then start making our way up through the field when the guys in the middle of the pack have cleared themselves out some. If we can keep our nose clean, get good stops and the Big Guy upstairs wants it to happen, I think a top-ten is possible."

about being back at Indy
"I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to be back in Indy on race day. We may be starting at the back but we are in the show and that is more than half the battle around this place. Like they say; 'you have to be in it to win it.' PDM had a big choice to make in putting me in the car and keeping me there. That's a great confidence boost."

bio brief

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.

Please visit www.JimmyKiteFans.com and www.DarkhorseAutosport.com for more.

-dc-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Jimmy Kite , Rick Mears