IRL: Jimmy Kite flies again at Indy

Diminutive Jimmy Kite's Indianapolis fortunes have mainly fluctuated between bad and worse since he came to the track largely on the strength of an upset final turn victory over disgruntled Chuck Gurney in the 1997 Silver Crown 100-miler at the ...

Diminutive Jimmy Kite's Indianapolis fortunes have mainly fluctuated between bad and worse since he came to the track largely on the strength of an upset final turn victory over disgruntled Chuck Gurney in the 1997 Silver Crown 100-miler at the Phoenix Copper World Classic. A year later at Indy he crashed three newsworthy times, eventually salvaged an 11th, followed by a 24th in 1999 and a 30th in 2000. Since then his racing has been a little this and a little that: midgets, sprints, occasional runs on the USAC Silver Crown circuit, and some stock car outings.

One of 26-year old Kite's more endearing features is his indomitable optimism, even in the worst of racing times. But on Friday the 17th Paul Diatlovich of Sam Schmidt Motorsports/PDM Racing tactfully announced that as "the result of the unique circumstances presented by the month of May," the team was exchanging one Georgian for another, dismissing all purpose racer Anthony Lazzaro in favor of Kite who had lately been reduced to hustling sprint cars out in Missouri. Diatlovich telephoned Kite late Thursday afternoon, and within a day he kicked the car up to 225 mph in 26 laps.

"We were pretty happy with that. I'll pretty much get in the show, run the Indy 500, then who knows?" Kite said Saturday morning in Gasoline Alley. What became of Lazzaro? "I don't know," he continued. "It's not my business. It's my job to get this thing in the field. There is definitely more in the car." Down on his luck, Kite relinquished his Indianapolis apartment last fall, and is now sleeping over with friends on the west side until the dust settles over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Kite , Anthony Lazzaro , Sam Schmidt