IRL: Richmond: Jimmy Kite preview

Jimmy Kite Looks to Richmond's Saturday Night Short Track to Spur '05 IndyCar Season RICHMOND, Vir., June 22, 2005 -- As a traditional short-track racer, Jimmy Kite is looking forward to visiting his first Indy Racing IndyCar Series short...

Jimmy Kite Looks to Richmond's Saturday Night Short Track to Spur '05 IndyCar Season

RICHMOND, Vir., June 22, 2005 -- As a traditional short-track racer, Jimmy Kite is looking forward to visiting his first Indy Racing IndyCar Series short track of the season. The 23 year-old from Stockbridge, Ga. will be behind the wheel of Ethanol-Hemelgarn Racing's the No. 91 Ethanol/ Remy/ Life Fitness Toyota-powered Dallara this weekend for the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). The .75-mile oval is the shortest track on the IndyCar schedule and marks the first time since joining the No. 91 team at Indianapolis- following the injuries of regular driver Paul Dana (St. Louis, Mo.)- that Kite will be on a track smaller than 1.5-miles in length. Though the 1997 USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year and the Ethanol-Hemelgarn team have suffered some disappointing finishes in their two races together (a 32nd at Indianapolis 500 and a 22nd at Texas Motor Speedway), they look at this 250 lap event as a natural boost to the team. Not only did Kite start his career on the short tracks of the South and Midwest, but so did team manager Lee Kunzman and many of the team's key players.

Despite now having 25 IndyCar Series starts ranging back to his debut in 1997, Kite has never raced the low-slung, high speed IndyCars at Richmond. He does, however, have several starts in the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown Series at the track. Kite launched the 2005 Silver Crown season with a seventh-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway however, though the series will race this weekend, Kite's Westcon Racing team opted not to make the trip to Richmond leaving Kite with only one series to focus on at Richmond.

Kite will attempt another double at his next NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on July 2nd. The No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevy Silverado will take to the track at Kansas Speedway the same weekend that the IndyCar Series is at the Kansas City-facility.

Jimmy Kite: "I'm looking forward to driving the Ethanol/ Remy/ Life Fitness car at Richmond. There is something special about running a short track on a Saturday night. To a lot of us out there, fans included, that is what racing is all about. It has been a couple of seasons since I've driven an Indy car on a short track and this one is about the shortest of them all. Richmond reminds me of the tracks I grew-up on and that's cool. You really get a sense of the speed and performance of these cars at a place like Richmond. The Ethanol-Hemelgarn team and I are starting to get on the same page for sure. We were fast and making a move towards the front when we had a mechanical problem at Texas. That gives me a lot of confidence coming into Richmond. I think this track should be good for us. It'll be tough and we'll have to be right on the setup from the start but, if we can do that, I think we'll start to show what we can do together and put the first two races behind us."

The SunTrust Indy Challenge can be seen live on ESPN at 7:30 pm (EDT) on Saturday, June 25th.

-jkm-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Kite , Paul Dana