From Staff Reports
Jimmy Kite will return to the cockpit of the No. 5 Westcon Elevator/Westcon Racing Bloomer Engines-Beast thisweek with back-to-back races in the United States Auto Club (USAC) Weld Racing Silver Crown Series. The 27-year old driver will be making his second start of the season for the Ohio-based race team on Saturday, June 28, at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). Following the Richmond race, the series leaves Virginia to celebrate Independence Day with the USAC Rocky Mountain Classic at Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR) in Fountain, Colo. on the 4th of July. Adding to Kite's schedule, he will also attempt to race a winged-sprint car in Benton, Mo. on July 5.
The three-quarters of a mile Richmond oval plays host to the third pavement race of the 2003 Silver Crown season, the one-mile PPIR track,the fourth.
The Stockbridge driver missed the last paved race, at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP), when rain forced its postponement to the Thursday prior to the start of his fourth Indianapolis 500. Focusing on the "500", Kite asked to step out of the red and yellow machine. In support of Kite, the Ron and Kevin Bloomstran-owned race team opted to skip the event and prepare for Kite's return at RIR. Kite went on to finish the Indy 500 13th for PDM Racing.
"I am really excited about going back to Richmond," offered Kite while racing at Missouri's Auto Tire and Parts NAPA Racepark for ?Jimmy Kite Night' on June 21.
"Every time we go out in the Westcon car we make progress. We just keep getting better and better. We were one of the fastest cars on the track at Phoenix until damage from a car spinning righ in front of me overheated the engine.
So, I know we have the car this year. We raced at both Richmond and Pikes Peak last year so we are going back to tracks we have run well on together. I'm really looking forward to the next week or so."
The back-to-back schedule and diverse track layouts put added stress on the teams and Kite doesn't see that as a difficult challenge to overcome.
"The Westcon team had a few months off and then ?bam' we get hit with two races in less than a week. Both Richmond and Pikes Peak are fast tracks and we'll actually run pretty close set-ups on each.
We may even run the same shocks and springs. The biggest thing is the altitudedifference.
We'll be going from sea-level to over 6,000 feet and that makes it tough on the engines. But we learned a lot last year so I know the Bloomer Engine guys have that figured out.
The other thing is you won't have much time to work on the car. So, you have to try and keep it from getting bent at Richmond. With just a little bit of luck we can win these races. The team and the car are that good."
The 100-mile Richmond race is scheduled to take the green flag at 5:30 p.m. The race will be broadcast that evening on tape delay at 8 p.m. on the SPEED Channel. The July 4th hundred-lapper at PPIR will be broadcast on July 26th at 10 p.m.
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 Indy Racing League.
He is a five-time national champion in various open-wheel series with countless victories.
He has a career total of 23 Indy Racing IndyCar Series event starts and$1,505,565 in career IRL earnings.
He has raced four times in the Indianapolis 500.