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Kite attempts Indy/NASCAR double again

From Staff Reports

Having made motorsports history at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) on June 10th and 11th, Jimmy Kite is set to back it up at Kansas Speedway on July 2nd and 3rd. With both the No. 06 MRD Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado and the No. 91 Ethanol-Hemelgarn/ Remy/ Life Fitness Toyota-Dallara scheduled to compete at Kansas the Fourth of July weekend, the resident of Stockbridge, Ga. will attempt to become the first driver to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Indy Racing IndyCar Series race at the same track on the same weekend. Kite made history as the first person to race a NASCAR Truck and Indy car on the same track back-to-back at TMS where he finished 24th and 22nd respectively.

Kite made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in late March finishing the MRD Chevy on the lead lap, in 19th-place. He backed that up with a run at Gateway International Raceway, in his native Missouri, earning 18th, also on the lead lap. His 24th-place finish at TMS made him the highest finishing rookie in the race.

The Kansas events could prove an even greater challenge than the Texas double-header because, unlike the Texas races which were both held at night under the lights, the Argent Mortgage Indy 300 IndyCar race and the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR event will both be held in the heat of the afternoon.

The high July temperatures in the plains of Kansas will prove a much more challenging task physically and mentally for Kite than Texas.

The 1997 USAC Silver Crown Series Rookie of the Year will race between seven and ten Craftsman Truck Series events this season and joined Ethanol-Hemelgarn at Indianapolis in May to sub for the injured Paul Dana. After three races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kite sits 42nd in points having earned $28,945. He is sixth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, has earned one Raybestos Rookie of the Race Award (TMS) and finished on the lead lap in two of the three events. He has been running at the conclusion of all three races. On the open wheel side, Kite started and finished 32nd in his fifth Indianapolis 500 in his first appearance as driver of the Ethanol-Hemelgarn entry. He finished 22nd at TMS after a mechanical failure put him into the wall. After two races, Kite sits 25th in points with 22 markers and has earned $241,605 bringing his career IndyCar earnings, to date, to $1,747,170. He will race Saturday night in his third IndyCar Series event for Ethanol-Hemelgarn at Richmond International Raceway.

"The Texas double went OK. I felt fine for both of those races.

We just didn't get the results we wanted in either. Kansas will be a little tougher because they're both being run during the day. It'll be hot. I'll be in the truck or the car almost constantly leading up to the races. That is probably the biggest challenge. Also, I've never raced at Kansas so that will be a challenge too. I'll have to learn the track pretty quickly for both of the teams so we can start getting the right set-up.

What the Indy car wants is a lot different from what the Truck wants so we're in for a lot of work!"

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 will be held on Saturday, July 2nd with live television on SPEED at 3 pm (EDT). The Argent Mortgage Indy 300 will be held Sunday, July 3rd with full coverage of the race available on ESPN beginning at 1:30 pm (EDT).