Jimmy Kite Opens Truck Career at Home HAMPTON, Ga., March 17, 2005 -- Jimmy Kite grew-up in Stockbridge, Ga., less than 30-minutes from the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Even while pursuing his own open wheel racing career in everything from ...
Jimmy Kite Opens Truck Career at Home
HAMPTON, Ga., March 17, 2005 -- Jimmy Kite grew-up in Stockbridge, Ga., less than 30-minutes from the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Even while pursuing his own open wheel racing career in everything from quarter-midgets to IndyCars, he hasn't missed a NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the track in years. Friday he will wake in his own bed, travel the familiar path to the 2.54-mile quad-oval and, instead of slipping into his grandstand seat at NASCAR's fastest track, he'll slide into the window of the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado to make his first start in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The 9 pm (EST) waving of the green flag for the World Financial Group 200 will mark Kite's debut in any NASCAR series. The four-time Indianapolis 500-starter has raced in front of his hometown crowd under the AMS lights twice in an IndyCar (1999 and 2000) finishing a high of ninth in '99. The 1997 Copper World Classic Silver Crown winner also made his stock car premiere here in the 1998 ARCA feature on a cool, March day similar to the forecasted conditions of Friday's race at AMS.
"I'm not nervous about the race but I am eager to get the green," laughed Kite from his home in Stockbridge, a suburb of Atlanta. "We've done so much to prepare for it the last few weeks that now I just want to get going. This is a big deal and I can't think of a better place to do it than right here in Atlanta. I love the track but, to be honest, it is the fans that makes this the most special. They've always been behind me so I hope I can show them how much I appreciate that in the race."
Kite, 29, has two ARCA stock car starts on his resume, both in '98, 23 IndyCar Series starts and countless open-wheel series victories in a number of different divisions. MRD Motorsports, based in Concord, N.C., has ten NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with a team-high finish of ninth at the 2004 season-closing event at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Atlanta marks the Dave Malcolmson (Largo, Fla.) owned team's first race of the 2005 season.
"The MRD guys have been great," remarked Kite about his relationship with the former Goody's Dash Series team. "We have spent a lot of time together at the shop, testing at Concord for a day and just talking beforehand. Dave and Bryan (Berry, crew chief) do things right as a team. They have a great organization here so that really increases my confidence. I still have a lot to learn about driving the Trucks but the test and just being around those guys at the shop shows me that this is a great place to be. Friday is going to be a long day and we don't get a lot of time to get out there and get up to speed. But we are communicating really well and these guys have a lot of confidence in me so I really feel good about the race. This whole thing feels a lot like that first ARCA race here in '98 and that went pretty well. We're being realistic about our chances. The Truck Series has so much talent with so many good teams that it would be crazy for me to think we'd just come in and walk-off with anything in the top-five, top-ten. But, if we can stay out of trouble, we can get a good finish here. I haven't thought about what a good finish would be. I just know I'm going to go out there and give it everything I have. And I know the MRD guys are going to do the same."
Kite's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut can be seen live on SPEED at 9 pm (EST), Friday, March 18th.
To learn more about Jimmy Kite, please visit www.JimmyKite.com. For the Jimmy Kite Fan Club, log-on to www.JimmyKiteFans.com. To keep in touch with Jimmy and the MRD Motorsports Team go to www.TeamMRD.com.