April 21, 2018

Rookie wins Purdue Grand Prix, reigning champ wrecks out

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — To win a race, one must finish the race. That was the story of the Purdue Grand Prix on Saturday (April 21). The No. 2 Motorsports Club at IUPUI No. 2 kart driven by rookie Jared Thomas took the win after keeping his nose clean all race.

“We definitely didn’t have the fastest car. My teammate Brenton had some speed there, but we just kept our nose clean and had lady luck on our side,” Thomas said. “You know, everyone talks about keeping your nose clean, and it seemed that I was the only one that practiced that today.”

Thomas started in the seventh position on the grid and avoided all the attrition ahead of him to seal the win.

Reigning champion Kyle Tilley, driving the Alpha Sig Racing 2 kart, started on pole and seemed to be the class of the field before he tangled with traffic early in the race. The accident knocked Tilley out of the race.

Brenden Johnson placed second in the No. 4 Motorsports Club at IUPUI No. 1 kart, and Jared Thayer placed third in the Triangle Racing Team A entry.

Johnson was leading after Tilley’s accident when trouble with his kart forced him to the pits. That is when Thomas took control of the lead and never let off the gas.

The win proved something, Thomas said.

“It means everything,” he said. “And it just goes to show that you don’t have to be here to win.”

State Representative Sheila Klinker served as grand marshal for the race.

Klinker was elected in 1982 to the Indiana House of Representatives. She represents Indiana House District 27, serving parts of Lafayette and West Lafayette. Klinker received her bachelor’s and both master’s degrees from Purdue. Before becoming a state representative, Klinker taught in the Lafayette School Corporation and served as the outreach liaison for the Purdue College of Education.

The event is sponsored by the Purdue Grand Prix Foundation. The foundation is built on the motto of “Students Helping Students” and works to raise over $10,000 annually to give out in the form of scholarships. The foundation is a student-led organization. The organization consists of 11 senior board directors, three advisers and a junior board staff. 

Note to Journalists: B-roll footage of the Purdue Grand Prix is available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1vrjCOdN4hWDDQqByRov8K8WtOQ5wk5mH

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, mhuckaby@purdue.edu

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