From staff reports
After making history Independence Day weekend by becoming the first man to race in NASCAR and Indy Racing League events on the same weekend at the same track, Stockbridge's Jimmy Kite will continue to do double duty in stock-car and open-wheel racing.
His next NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race will be Aug. 5 at Indianapolis Raceway Park while his next IRL event will be July 16 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Driving both the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the No. 91 Ethanol-Hemelgarn/Remy/Life Fitness Toyota-Dallara in the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway over the July 4 weekend, Kite drove to the race's finale in the two events earning a 22nd in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck race and 19th in Sunday's IndyCar Series event.
Kite, making his fourth start in the MRD Motorsports Chevy, qualified 22nd for the 250-mile event. He would fight for position throughout the day as he continues to learn the intricacies of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Kite was the second-highest finishing rookie in the race completing 169 of the 170-lap event. He earned $9,940 for the day's efforts.
To date, Kite has taken the checkered flag in each of the four races he has run in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, ranking in the top-two highest finishing rookies in each. He currently sits 37th in the season-long standings with 403 points jumping six spots with the 22nd-place finish at Kansas. He has earned $38,885 dollars to this point in his young NASCAR career.
The Georgian is tied for sixth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award chase with 59 points. His next race at Indianapolis Raceway Park, one of his favorite short-tracks, could prove to be the ideal setting for Kite to break into the top 10 in qualifying and race results while moving him securely into the top five of rookie points. Overall, Kite will compete in between seven and 10 Craftsman Truck Series events this season.
In Sunday's IndyCar feature, his first at Kansas Speedway, Kite and the Ethanol-Hemelgarn team continued to make strides towards the front. While the result was not what the 27-time IndyCar starter had hoped for, the team took the checkered flag 19th after running quickly towards the front early.
They completed 195 of the 200 laps earning $32,400. The No. 91 qualified 20th with a lap of 209.182 mph. He joined Ethanol-Hemelgarn at Indianapolis in May to sub for the injured Paul Dana starting and finishing 32nd in his fifth Indianapolis 500. After four races, Kite sits 22nd in IndyCar points with 51 markers and has earned $312,505.
"We're getting there on both sides," Kite said. "The NASCAR Craftsman Truck program is going real well with the MRD guys. We've finished every race we've started with them this year and that is pretty major accomplishment when you think about the competition out there. It shows how good the MRD guys are because I'm still learning. I'm definitely still a rookie over there. In the IndyCar we've made a lot of changes over the last few races. They're all for the better but it will take some time to sort them out too. I think we'll be really good at Nashville. I'm looking forward to running there on a Saturday night. Our next Truck race will be IRP and I love that track. So, we have some really good opportunities coming-up the next few races."
On the web www.JimmyKite.com, www.JimmyKiteFans.com, www.TeamMRD.com, www.HemelgarnRacing.com.