Charlotte, NC (22 March 2012) – AJ Allmendinger and Walldinger Racing, Inc. are pleased to announce that 13-year-old Kyle Kirkwood has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Walldinger Racing Karting Scholarship, which will see Kirkwood campaign a full season in the World Karting Association’s Manufacturer’s Cup Series as well as compete at the Rotax Grand Nationals and SKUSA SuperNationals.
As the recipient of numerous scholarships that helped propel his own career, Allmendinger was looking to give back, and created the karting scholarship in order to help a deserving young karter get the support needed to move up through the racing ranks.
Kirkwood, who began racing karts at the age of five, will not only receive support from a fully equipped race team but will also receive valuable media and management training from Walldinger Racing, Allmendinger’s management firm.
Kirkwood has shown great success as he’s claimed several victories and championships throughout his home state of Florida and other various venues around the country. 2012 marks his first year of Junior level competition and he currently competes in the Florida Winter Tour – racing TaG Junior during the Formula Kart weekends and Junior MAX during the MAX Challenge weekends.
“This karting scholarship is an idea I’ve had for a while but the timing was never right,” said Allmendinger. “I wanted to do it this year, and I thought that with everything that happened during the off-season, I feared it would get put on the backburner again, but we were able to make it happen. We’re thrilled to have Kyle on board. He has shown great potential throughout his eight years of karting and maintains a very positive attitude both on and off the track.”
As the winner of the AJ Allmendinger Karting Scholarship, Kirkwood will make his WKA Manufacturer’s Cup debut this weekend at the Zoom Zoom Nationals held at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina under the direction of Walldinger Racing Team Manager Tim Pappas. Kirkwood will contest four categories throughout the weekend: Yamaha Jr. Lite and Komet Jr. Heavy on Saturday as well as Yahama Jr. Heavy and Komet Jr. Lite on Sunday.
“I’m very grateful to have been chosen for this great opportunity,” said Kirkwood. “It is an honor and privilege to represent AJ Allmendinger and Walldinger Racing as the recipient of the scholarship. I’m very excited to race in the WKA Manufacturer’s Cup Series this year. I feel like I’m heading into my most exciting and prosperous season of karting and I will continue to work hard and do my best in each and every race.”
KartSport and Sparco have joined the effort as partners, with Walldinger Racing media partner Sunday Group Management also confirmed to support the program. Additional entities are also expected to be announced as partners in the coming weeks.
The Kershaw weekend will begin with a full day of official practice on Friday followed by two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday. The race day format begins with qualifying, followed by a Pre-Final and Final.