From staff reports
A month ago, Jimmy Kite was planning to enjoy a quiet weekend at home in Stockbridge with his family on June 9-11th.
His plans changed quickly with two separate decisions by MRD Motorsports owner Dave Malcolmson and Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing's Ron Hemelgarn . Now, instead of relaxing, Kite will be attempting to be the first driver to ever compete in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event and an Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event on the same weekend at the same track.
"It'll be an awful lot of work but it should be a lot of fun too," Kite said. "Both the MRD and Ethanol Hemelgarn folks are excited about us trying this and the more I'm on a track, the happier I am. The schedule is pretty tight so I am going to be busy going from one garage to the other, jumping from the IndyCar to the Craftsman Truck and back in practice. I'm sure the first time I do it, it'll take me a little bit to adjust in my mind what the Ethanol car wants compared to the Royal Purple-XXtreme MRD Chevy. But, once I do that I think it will become pretty natural."
The 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway will play host to this historic event as Kite wheels the No. 06 Royal Purple/ XXtreme Group LLC/ MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado in the Chex 400k on Friday, June 10 and the No. 91 Ethanol-Remy-Life Fitness Dallara-Toyota in the IndyCar Series' Bombardier Learjet 500k the following evening. Both races will be run at night under the lights at TMS.
"The races are on two different nights and that is the biggest thing," Kite said. "I'll have plenty of time to rest and get some fluids back in me after the Truck race before the IndyCar race. It's pretty cool trying to do something no one ever has done before."
In mid-May, Malcolmson decided to add the Chex 400k NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race to the limited schedule of events for the 29-year-old Kite. The Fort Worth-area track was a natural addition for the Bryan Berry-led team as its layout is similar to the Atlanta Motor Speedway where Kite made his NASCAR debut in March.
Kite's seat in the Ethanol IndyCar came in a different way.
On May 13, Paul Dana spun and struck the wall in practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dana was injured and not able to compete in the 89th Running of the Indianapolis 500 opening the door for Kite to qualify for his fifth Indy 500.
With Dana's injuries keeping him out of the Ethanol entry for the foreseeable future, Kite will pilot the blue and white machine at Texas.
Qualifying for both the Chex 400k and the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series' Bombardier Learjet 500k is scheduled for Thursday, June 9.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event will be the Friday night headliner with the green flag falling at 7:15 p.m. before live television audience on the SPEED Channel.
The open-wheel IndyCars will take the green on June 11 with coverage on ESPN.
On the web - www.jimmykite.com, www.jimmykitefans.com, www.teammrd.com.