IRL: Phoenix Blueprint Racing Qualifying Report

PHOENIX, AZ., March 18, 2000- After setting the fastest time in the Friday afternoon practice session, Blueprint Racing rolled into qualifications for the MCIWorldcom Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway with quiet enthusiasm. Jimmy Kite, of...

PHOENIX, AZ., March 18, 2000- After setting the fastest time in the Friday afternoon practice session, Blueprint Racing rolled into qualifications for the MCIWorldcom Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway with quiet enthusiasm. Jimmy Kite, of Stockbridge, Georgia- driving a 1999 G Force chassis- rolled the #27 Founders Bank/ ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special off the qualifying line sixth. When the checkered flag flew on Kite's time trial he had placed the Blueprint team 14th for the race with a speed of 21.180 seconds (169.972 mph) on the seventh row. The lap proved to be the quickest of the 1999 cars entered. Greg Ray took the pole with a time of 20.389 seconds, 176.566 mph.

"You run this place flat out and just hold your breath down into turn one and through two," explained Kite about his qualifying effort. "Then you can breathe again and just rocket through three and four. I was just a little off going into one on the first lap and that slowed us down some. But, that is really solid for a '99 car. We used our race setup with less fuel, so we are really happy going into the race. We definitely have the setup for tomorrow!"

Kite is optimistic about tomorrow's 200-mile race here in the "Valley of the Sun" but knows the trials of racing at the PIR oval. "Here, you close your eyes for a hundred laps and then, if you are still running, you race your heart out the last one hundred miles. No matter what kind of car, you race this track that way."

Qualifying gave Blueprint Racing engine and transmission manager Louis "Sonny" Meyer his first look at Blueprint's 180-degree crankshaft configuration on-track against competition. "I think the 180 degree crank is the way to go. All your racing engines, throughout history, have been 180 degree V8s. This one acts just like any other race engine I have ever worked on. It didn't offer any surprises, we just need more time with it. We built this engine in three days so we are looking forward to having some more time to learn it before Indy."

Looking towards tomorrow's 200 mile Northern Light Series' event, Ed Rachanski- team co-owner with Keith Sanders- has a positive but realistic attitude. "I've been in this sport a long time and I'm the kind of guy that looks at all the parameters. You do your best but, still, racing is 50% luck. Brad (McCanless, team manager), Randy (Ruyle, chief mechanic) and the team did a great job preparing the car."

Success at Phoenix International Raceway is nothing new to the Blueprint Racing organization. The team won the 1997 Phoenix 200 with driver Jim Guthrie. Rachanski and Ruyle directed that great "David vs. Goliath" victory. Kite also knows how to win at the historic oval. He took the Copper World Classic Silver Bullet race here in 1997. Team manager Brad McCanless won the 1996 Phoenix 200 and holds the current all-time track qualifying record (also set in 1996 at a time of 19.608 seconds). Meyer has built six race-winning engines at the Phoenix oval and holds the all-time track race record at one hour, 26 minutes and 56.62 seconds.

For ongoing coverage and news of Blueprint Racing Enterprises and the #27 Founders Bank/ ZMAX/ Blueprint Racing Special check out the team web site at www.blueprintracing.com.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Jimmy Kite