MRD Motorsports Announces Open Wheel Ace Jimmy Kite To Drive NASCAR Truck CONCORD, N. C., March 9, 2005 -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entrant Dave Malcolmson (Largo, Fla.) proudly announces the signing of open wheel racing standout Jimmy Kite...
MRD Motorsports Announces Open Wheel Ace Jimmy Kite To Drive NASCAR Truck
CONCORD, N. C., March 9, 2005 -- NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entrant Dave Malcolmson (Largo, Fla.) proudly announces the signing of open wheel racing standout Jimmy Kite (Stockbridge, Ga.) to race for MRD Motorsports in the World Financial Group 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Kite, a four-time Indianapolis 500 starter and regular on the IndyCar Series since 1997, will be making his debut in a NASCAR-sanctioned event driving the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado at his home track on March 18th. MRD Motorsports, of Concord, N.C., entered ten Craftsman Truck Series races in its debut last season. Atlanta will be MRD's first start of 2005.
Despite this being his first NASCAR event, Kite is no stranger to stock car racing or to AMS. In fact, the 1.54-mile, Hampton, Ga. oval was the site of Kite's premiere in stock car racing in March of 1998 when he drove an ARCA series entry for Team Scandia. He followed that with a second ARCA start later that season at Michigan Speedway while working as a test driver for Scandia's Winston Cup (now Nextel Cup) and Busch Grand National efforts. Kite also has IndyCar experience at the track with events in 1999 and 2000.
The MRD Motorsports operation, headed by Malcolmson and crew chief Bryan Berry (Concord, N.C.), entered the Craftsman Truck Series last season with a limited schedule. The 06 will again run a limited schedule in 2005 while pursuing marketing partnerships that would allow the team to contend for the championship in 2006. MRD Motorsports has previously been involved in the Allison Legacy Series and Goody's Dash Series. A ninth-place at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the 2004 season-closer marks the team's career high finish in the Truck Series.
Jimmy Kite began his career racing quarter-midgets at the age of eight and worked his way up through mini-sprints, USAC midgets, sprint cars and Silver Crown cars to the IndyCar Series. He has countless victories, five national championships in various open-wheel divisions and 23 career IndyCar starts. Kite's first major success in professional motorsports came in the Silver Crown feature of the 1997 Copper World Classic. Starting from the back of the field in his first Phoenix International Raceway appearance, Kite passed open-wheel legend Chuck Gurney on the last turn of the last lap to win the prestigious event. He carried that success onto the series Rookie of the Year title and his first race in the IndyCar Series later that year. Kite is currently working with longtime Indy 500 entrant PDM Racing to finalize plans for his fifth Indianapolis 500 start.
Jimmy Kite: "I've got to thank God for this opportunity. I am getting to make my NASCAR Truck Series debut at my home track of Atlanta. I'm looking forward to getting in this 06 MRD truck. With the races they ran last year they showed well and I think that we can have a good weekend. With all the names in the Craftsman Truck Series that I watch every race, it will be cool competing out there with them. It'll just be cool knowing that this year, instead of sitting up in the condo watching the Truck race, someone else will be up there watching me go around. That will be a cool change. I've got to thank Dave and all the guys at MRD in believing in me and inviting me to do this. We're already making a great team and I am proud and excited to be associated with them."
Dave Malcolmson, owner: "Starting off this year we were totally uncertain as to who was going to be our driver. We were speaking with several different people but, ultimately, we came in contact with Jimmy. As soon as we got through some other issues our first reaction was to call Jimmy and tell him he is driving our truck. Jimmy brings a wealth of experience from his open wheel racing so it will be our job to make him as comfortable in the truck as fast as possible. This is completely different from open wheel racing; how quickly we get Jimmy comfortable will let his ability take over from there. I honestly believe that as soon as we do that, Jimmy will be headed to the front."
Bryan Berry, crew chief: "With Jimmy's experience with high speeds we felt that Atlanta would be a good fit for all of us. If he can run the IRL and Silver Crown on some of those little tracks at those speeds, he can do this. We ran this truck last year to a top-ten at Homestead, so we're confident in it. I've messed with midgets and sprint cars in my background so I understand the difference. They are totally different animals but there is no reason he can't do this. I'm confident that he can. There is no one in the shop that isn't positive about this change."
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, launching on the web March 16, 2005.