On the fast track

Indy’s Krisiloff gets Hendricks backing

Early experience key for 19-year-old driver

By Done Ward

(May 2005) - As a young race car driver, it’s one thing to have the opportunity to compete. But to do it with the backing of Hendrick Motorsports' development driver program is a dream come true.
Carmel, Ind., native Kyle Krisiloff is among the select few young drivers who is getting that chance this season. In an alliance between Hendrick Motorsports and Bobby Gerhart Racing, Krisiloff, 19, has competed in two of the first three ARCA RE/MAX Series races and will enter both races at the Kentucky Speedway this season. They are among 13 scheduled ARCA races for the son of Indy 500 veteran Steve Krisiloff. The young Krisiloff also is scheduled to get behind the wheel of a Busch car later this year, perhaps at Milwaukee, Gerhart Racing officials said.
He is scheduled to get a ride in the No. 5 Busch car, now shared by driver development graduates Blake Feese and Boston Reid.

Kyle Krisiloff

Photo provided by Gerhart Racing

Kyle Krisiloff poses prior to
the Nashville race in March.

“So far, everything is going great. We’ve been running up front in every race and I think we’ve been the most competitive car consistently,” Krisiloff said April 26 by telephone from Charlotte, N.C. “I’ve learned a lot about stock car racing – strategy, setting up the car and about what I need to do late in the race to win.”
Krisiloff is enrolled in his second semester at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, where he is a freshman. But on weekends, he heads to the track to compete against veteran and young ARCA drivers.
In his first outing this year in February at Daytona, he qualified fourth and was running near the front when he was involved in a crash, placing 13th. Bobby Gerhart, meanwhile, won the race. In Nashville, Tenn., in March, Krisiloff started 20th and finished 13th in his ditech.com Chevrolet.
He plans to test in early May at Kentucky in preparation for this third race of the year.
“Right from the start, he showed he can handle these cars. He’s led every race and he’s adapted very well,” said crew chief Billy Gerhart. “He’s definitely on the fast track. To be that young and have that much experience, he’s ahead of the curve.”
Hendrick Motorsports launched its driver development initiative in April 2004. Last season, the program garnered two wins and nine top-10 results in 10 Gerhart-prepared ARCA entries. Serving as the program’s primary car, the No. 5 Monte Carlo finished second in owner points, thanks in part to eight combined top-10s by prospects Krisiloff, Feese and Reid. 
“Our driver development program was a great success in 2004,” said Marshall Carlson, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “Bobby has built a great organization, and we’re proud to continue our association with the fine people there.” 
Bobby Gerhart Racing has posted 80 top-10s and 36 top-five finishes in ARCA-sanctioned events since 1988. The team has competed at various levels for more than five decades. 

Kyle Krisiloff racing

Photo provided by Gerhart Racing

With engines provided by Hendricks
Motorsports, Kyle Krisiloff, has been
a competitive force on the ARCA circuit.

“As a team, we understand the importance of this program to Hendrick Motorsports, and we’re excited they’ve put so much faith in us,” said Bobby Gerhart Jr., owner of Bobby Gerhart Racing. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with a talented young driver like Kyle and assist in this crucial part of his on-track development.” 
Hendrick Motorsports will continue to provide engines to the team, headquartered in Lebanon, Pa. 
Krisiloff began racing BMX bicycles at age 3, making him the youngest rider in the nation at the 6-and-under level. He was soon introduced to auto racing, winning more than 320 quarter-midget features and nine Grand National championships from 1995 to 1999. 
Krisiloff won two races and a pair of pole positions in Superkarts USA competition in 2000 before joining the 2001 SCCA Formula Ford tour. He won six events and six pole positions in 22 attempts that year, along with the SCCA Runoffs national championship. 
In 2002, Krisiloff entered the final six races of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship season. The following year, he finished 10th in the series standings and, at 17, became the youngest-ever driver to earn a podium finish on the circuit, coming in second at The Milwaukee Mile. 
In just four ARCA RE/MAX Series starts since joining Hendrick’s development program in April 2004, Krisiloff has posted a Sept. 11 victory at Chicagoland Speedway, a runner-up performance Aug. 14 at Nashville and, an Aug. 7 top-10 at Lake Erie Speedway in his first circuit outing.

• Supplemented by ARCA reports.

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