Successful Atlanta Debut Leads To Two More NASCAR Truck Races For Jimmy Kite CONCORD, N.C., March 30, 2005 -- Jimmy Kite finished his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event with a flourish, running in 19th, backwards across the ...
Successful Atlanta Debut Leads To Two More NASCAR Truck Races For Jimmy Kite
CONCORD, N.C., March 30, 2005 -- Jimmy Kite finished his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event with a flourish, running in 19th, backwards across the start-finish line at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). The overall run so impressed MRD Motorsports' owner Dave Malcolmson (Largo, Fla.) and crew chief Bryan Berry (Concord, N.C.) that they have brought the Stockbridge, Georgia-resident back to run two more Truck Series events in the next two months. Malcolmson announced today that Kite, a four-time Indianapolis 500 starter, will pilot the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado truck at the Dodge Ram Tough 200 at Gateway International Raceway (St. Louis) scheduled for April 30th and at the Charlotte Tailgate 200 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 20th. Kite has also been entered into the Craftsman Truck Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition for the '05 season having finished as the second-highest placing rookie at Atlanta. He currently sits sixth in that competition after only one race.
The St. Louis event will be a homecoming for Kite whose family is from the nearby communities of Park Hills and Leadwood. While the 1997 USAC Silver Crown Copper World Classic winner has only run one race on the 1.25-mile oval in Madison, Ill., he has a long Midwest connection to the sport. His love affair with motorsports began when, as a child, he saw a winged sprint car do a wheelie at the dirt oval in Farmington, Mo. In recent years, Kite has driven many of those small, Missouri dirt ovals in a winged sprint car. Kite maintains a home in Missouri and, while not racing, spends much of his time there.
Kite also has prior racing experience on the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. In his first of two IndyCar starts (1997-'98) at the 1.5-mile track, Kite led 11 laps, his first ever in an IndyCar, on his way to a 15th place finish. He returned in '98 retiring with an incurable handling problem, finishing 23rd.
With a strategy to learn the MRD truck and the series, Kite was methodical in his approach to racing at AMS. The approach, as well as his truck control and result, impressed many in the NASCAR community. Starting 24th, he fought for positions throughout the event in a truck that was among the fastest through the turns. Coming to the scheduled distance of 130 laps, Kite was in 21st spot, having been as high as 15th. A late-race accident caused a "green-white-checkered" finish presenting the Concord, N.C.-based race team one more shot at a top-20 finish. Kite went on the attack in the final free-for-all finish. Coming out of turn four, a spinning truck in front of the 29-year-old forced him onto the wet AMS grass. Kite joined several trucks spinning across the start-finish line but would earn a 19th-place finish.
Kite has 23 IndyCar Series starts and countless open-wheel series victories in a number of different divisions since starting his career at age eight in quarter-midgets. MRD Motorsports has eleven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with a team-high finish of ninth (in 2004). Atlanta marked MRD's first race of the 2005 season.
Jimmy Kite: "I appreciate Dave, Bryan and all the guys at MRD giving me another shot. I'm looking forward to racing in front of my family in Missouri and then coming back to Lowe's. I led my first IndyCar race there and it was the first track that I ever went over 200 mph. Now that they have ground the track, it will be really fast, like Atlanta. We had a great handling truck at Atlanta so that gives me a lot of confidence going into Lowe's. We're going to test both tracks so I'm looking forward to these two races with MRD. Hopefully, I can continue to learn and get better and impress some company with what we have to offer. If we sign someone on, that will let us run a lot more races together and I definitely want that because this truck stuff is fun."
Dave Malcolmson, owner: "We were very pleased with Jimmy Kite as a person, as a driver and in his performance in Atlanta. We had some mechanical issues that we didn't' know about during the race. We feel if we hadn't had those, we would have had a better finish and we are confident that they won't be an issue in the future. We're looking forward to going to St. Louis and Lowe's with Jimmy. If things continue as they have been, we look forward to a long, long relationship with Jimmy."
Bryan Berry, crew chief: "For a guy that basically has never done this kind of racing before, you would have never known that from working with Jimmy. The first practice he ran ten laps and came back in like he had been there forever. That was pretty impressive. Everybody really enjoyed working with him. There was a 110 percent given on his part. Jimmy got all he could out of the MRD Chevy. We're really looking forward to going to St. Louis. We're going to go test there in the middle of the next month. That should really help us. For our first race of the year, Jimmy's first race with us and in a Truck, we couldn't have asked for more. Everyone on the team was really impressed with what he did."
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.