LAS VEGAS, April 22, 2000-- The odds were against Blueprint Racing and driver Jimmy Kite at the Indy Racing Northern Light Series' Vegas Indy 300 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway today. The Founders Bank/ ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special-- driven by...
LAS VEGAS, April 22, 2000-- The odds were against Blueprint Racing and driver Jimmy Kite at the Indy Racing Northern Light Series' Vegas Indy 300 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway today. The Founders Bank/ ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special-- driven by Stockbridge, Georgia resident, Kite-- finished 16th despite a strong effort by the #27 team.
Starting 17th in the 28-car field-- due to windy conditions magnified by the rubber laid down by the Winston West stock cars earlier in the qualifying day-- Kite cut through the field like a knife in the early going.
Kite entered the top-ten by lap 12 of the 208-lap event and found a comfortable top-15 running position before the first pit stop by the Blueprint Racing crew on lap 35. Despite losing fifth gear on lap 60, Kite continued to march past the cars in front of him until just short of the 75-lap mark. On lap 73 the car slowed as the engine failed to break 4,000 revolutions-per-minute.
The Blueprint crew-- lead by team manager Brad McCanless and chief mechanic Randy Ruyle-- worked diligently, first pulling the parts of the pit-lane-speed-limit control system and then replacing the engine's management system. Eventually, the problem was diagnosed as two, simultaneous failures-- a camshaft trigger sensor and the crankshaft trigger sensor. Both were changed and the Sonny Meyer prepared Oldsmobile engine was back at full song.
"I'm just so disappointed," a heartbroken Kite commented. "We almost had Little Al lapped at one point! This was the single best race car I think I have ever had. This 2000 G Force is so good and the engine that Blueprint Racing Engines gave me was so strong... this race was ours. No doubt, no question. The Blueprint Racing guys did an incredible job getting the Founders Bank/ ZMAX #27 back into the show. I really tip my hat to them and thank them for that effort!"
Once work had been completed on the red, white and blue G Force- Oldsmobile, Kite returned to the track to turn laps that were more than two miles-per-hour faster than the leaders. The team eventually finished 147 laps, receiving $13,300 of the $1,090,500 purse for the effort.
Offered Blueprint Racing co-owner Ed Rachanski, "We had one heck of a shot to win this! The crew did a heck of a job changing those sensors, which is very hard to do with the engine still in the car. We learned one thing today though, this team and this driver are ready for Indy!"
This was the first outing for the Blueprint team's new 2000 G Force chassis.
"I'm disappointed," said Ruyle. "We all are. We had a good race car, an excellent race car. Hopefully, our bad luck is gone now. If that is what they call the 'new car blues' then, hopefully, that is over for us after this."
Kite, 24 years old, rose above the disappointment to see the silver-lining, "We're going to win... soon. This Blueprint team is just too strong to stay out of victory lane. I can't think of a better place to show that than Indianapolis."