STOCKBRIDGE, Ga., Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - Jimmy Kite announced today that he will again wheel the ...
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga., Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - Jimmy Kite announced today that he will again wheel the #95 Tom Cherry Mufflers/ Covington Products Beast-Ford in the North American Auto Racing Series (NAMARS) Championship MidgetCar Series at Columbus (OH) Motor Speedway (CMS) on July 20. The event on CMS' 1/3-mile paved oval will mark the 26-year old Indy Racing League (IRL) regular's second race of the season for owner Jerry Covington. Kite returned recently to NAMARS competition at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) with a fourth-place finish in the Ford powered Beast chassis. It was the Stockbridge, Georgia resident's first race in a midget since 1999.
"It was great to get back behind the wheel of Jerry's midget at IRP and I am anxious to try it in Columbus," said Kite. "Jerry always gave me a great car in the past and it felt like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes when I slid into the seat at IRP. The Brayton (Engineering)-built Ford had great power, we just missed our setup a little. That cost us a win at Raceway Park. We are going to test tomorrow at Columbus and that will help us avoid that problem this time. NAMARS has such strong competitors that you have to fight for everything you get. That's the way I like it. That's what racing is all about."
Kite continues to add to his success in 2002. The Covington midget is the third open wheel car that the three-time Indianapolis 500-starter has been racing regularly this season. In his family's native Missouri, Kite has been driving the #12 Reddick Maxim chassis/ O-Donely powered winged-sprint car on dirt tracks. He has also been piloting the #59 Westcon Racing/ Westcon Elevator/ Bloomer Beast in USAC Silver Crown pavement competition since Nazareth in March. His attempt at a fourth Indianapolis 500 start was thwarted when the #99 PDM Racing entry's qualifying attempt was ended before it started when rain canceled final-day qualifications for the world's most famous auto race.
"It has been a good season," commented Kite with a hint of hesitation in his voice. "But, it hasn't been great. I have been having a lot of fun driving the short-track stuff but it is still disappointing we weren't able to get the car into Indy. So it's been up-and-down. But all the cars have been real fast and people are taking notice. Racing is fun again."
Kite began racing quarter-midgets at the age of eight and worked his way up through mini-sprints, 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 including the stunning back-to-front win over Chuck Gurney in the 1997 USAC Copper World Classic Silver Crown event. Kite is the 1997 Silver Crown Rookie of the Year and the fastest rookie qualifier at Indianapolis in 1998. He has a career total of 22 Indy Racing events and $1,232,000 in career IRL earnings.