Strong Close to Rookie Year for Shell-Pennzoil Karter Kyle Kirkwood

Strong Close to Rookie Year for Shell-Pennzoil Karter Kyle Kirkwood

Walldinger Racing Media Contact:
Matt Cleary, Sunday Group Management
Media

New Castle, Ind. (17 September 2012) – Walldinger Racing’s Kyle Kirkwood capped off a stellar rookie season of World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup racing with another strong outing in the final round of the championship at New Castle Motorsports Park over the weekend. The 13-year-old Florida karter, who was awarded the AJ Allmendinger Karting Scholarship earlier this year with sponsorship from Shell-Pennzoil, added a pole position, podium result and three more top-10s to his growing list of racing accomplishments on the way to finishing runner-up in the Yamaha Jr. Heavy championship.

Kirkwood’s New Castle results added to his already impressive racing resume for a total of two pole positions, four victories, 11 podiums and 16 top-10 results in 20 events throughout his first WKA Manufacturer’s Cup season.

The Yamaha Jr. Heavy class is one of the most competitive categories in the series with over 40 entries competing almost every weekend, but Kirkwood’s talent behind the wheel along with the experience of the KartSport organization proved to be a successful combination in the highly popular category.

Kirkwood’s strong results throughout the year also added to Arrow’s 2012 Manufacturers Cup title.

“I think that Kyle learned a lot this season and brought home some very good results, particularly as such a young rookie,” said AJ Allmendinger, who attended the IZOD IndyCar finale over the weekend as a guest of Penske Racing. “Hopefully he can do well in Colorado and get the experience of racing at that level as he continues to learn and mature as a racer.”

Kirkwood has contested four classes in the WKA Manufacturers Cup Series all season long – making for some busy race weekends for the karter and his KartSport team. This weekend was no different as the group headed into the final round with a shot at both the Komet Jr. Heavy and Yamaha Jr. Heavy championship titles.

First up was the Komet Jr. Heavy event in which Kirkwood qualified 22nd of 33 karts and worked his way up to 14th by the end of the eight-lap Pre-Final. Unfortunately, Kirkwood got a late start off the grid in the Final and without enough time during the pace lap to slot back into his 14th starting position, he was forced to start deep in the field. The ever-determined karter cleanly made his way into the top-10 by Lap 8 and would take the checkered flag eighth in line.

Saturday’s Yamaha Jr. Lite event saw Kirkwood capture his second pole position of the season to lead the 45-kart field to the green flag in the Pre-Final. Kirkwood held onto the lead through the first turn, but got shuffled back to third on the first lap. He defended masterfully against a pack of four karts on his bumper – eventually pulling away to run with the top-two karts until the checkered flag to finish third. Kirkwood fought hard to remain among the top-five in the Final, but ultimately completed the race ninth.

Sunday brought a mix of ups and downs for Kirkwood after incidents in both the Komet Jr. Lite and Yamaha Jr. Heavy Pre-Finals saw him start from the rear of the field in both event Finals.

Kirkwood qualified on the outside of the front row for the Komet Jr. Lite Pre-Final only to become the victim of some ambitious driving from his fellow competitors which took him out in the very first corner. He would have his work cut out for him in the Final but the resilient driver made it look easy in one of the most impressive drives of the season as he sailed through the field and improved 27 positions in 14 laps on the way to finishing fourth after starting 31st.

He would face a similar situation in the Yamaha Jr. Heavy Final. Having qualified 22nd for the Pre-Final, Kirkwood was set to move forward but the effort was cut short when the side by side action deep in the field forced the Arrow kart over the curbing which knocked the chain off and left Kirkwood to watch from off track.

In yet another stellar performance, Kirkwood began the 14-lap Final from 43rd on the grid and seamlessly maneuvered past 29 karts to take the checkered flag 14th in the order.

“I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get some better results this weekend because we had a great shot at winning the championship, but overall I’m happy with how this whole season went,” said Kirkwood. “It’s been great to race at this level against some of the best kart racers in the country and I really can’t thank AJ, Walldinger Racing, and Shell-Pennzoil enough for giving me the opportunity to do this. I really wanted to reward them with the championship, but we’ll see if we can get a ticket to the Worlds in Portugal when we race in Colorado next week.”

Kirkwood and the KartSport team travel to Englewood, Colorado next weekend for the 2012 Pan American Challenge on September 20-23. A stand-alone one championship event, Kirkwood will look to claim victory in the Junior Max division with the winner of the category receiving a ticket to the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal.

Kirkwood will also contest the 2012 SuperNats! in Las Vegas November 14-18.

The Kart Racing Network will produce a live broadcast of the United States Rotax Grand Nationals at www.kartracingnetwork.com. The 2011 broadcast boasted over 14,000 unique connections from over 40 countries.

The U.S. Rotax Max Grand Nationals will award the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place drivers in the Junior Max, Senior Max, DD2 and DD2 Masters a ticket to the 2012 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.

About Shell-Pennzoil:
Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with 93,000 employees in more than 90 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs nearly 20,000 people using technology and innovation to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future. The Shell downstream organization manages a portfolio of top-quality brands, including the No. 1 selling gasoline and premium gasoline brand[i] and Pennzoil®, the most trusted motor oil brand in America*. Shell’s motorsports technical alliances around the world provide a testing ground for fuel and lubricant technologies and products in demanding road conditions. The knowledge Shell and Pennzoil gain through these alliances help address tomorrow’s world mobility energy challenge with efficient solutions that power and protect motorists around the globe.

http://www.pennzoil.com/

Walldinger Racing
About Walldinger Racing, Inc.: Walldinger Racing was formed in 2006 to support AJ Allmendinger’s motorsports career by developing commercial opportunities and partnership programs.

About KartSport
Formed in August 2010, KartSport is the exclusive North American importer of Arrow Racing Karts. Owned and operated by professional karting and racing veterans Justin Marks and Eric Jones, and operating out of a state-of-the-art facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, KartSport delivers to the karting industry a number of quality products and services. KartSport also designs and manufacturers it’s own line of karting tools and components.

About Sparco
Founded in 1977 Sparco is the world leader in motor sports safety equipment. More than 35 years later, Sparco’s ambition for producing the safest and innovative driving equipment possible, is still the number one priority for the company. At speeds of more than 200 mph, and temperatures above 120 degrees, a driver must be 100% confident in their safety equipment. Therefore, the world’s top professional drivers choose Sparco, more than any other brand.

About Sunday Group Management
Sunday Group Management is a leading motorsports management and communications consulting firm with clients in NASCAR, IndyCar, GRAND-AM, and ALMS. www.sundaymanagement.com, www.facebook.com/sundaygroup, or www.twitter.com/Sundaygroup

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Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
mediawww.sundaymanagement.com
youtube.com/sundaymanagement
317.908.2975 (m)

For additional information: www.sundaymanagement.com, www.facebook.com/sundaygroup, www.twitter.com/Sundaygroup

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