GrandAm - Kinetic Kia Forte Koups Victorious In Barber 200 Race
April 10, 2011: BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA…With Kia Motors America fans and factory team members looking on, the #10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup took the checkered flag in the ST class at the Barber 200. After Michael Galati qualified the car 16th on Friday, the team was able to progressively move up in the charts. It was an amazing weekend for the Kinetic Motorsports and Kia Motors America, as this gave both Kia and Kinetic their first professional racing win.
It was an all-around success for the Kinetic team because the #12 car of Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows also finished in the Top Ten at Barber. The Kias were both able to drive a clean race, and brought success and excitement to the Kia supporters from the local Kia plant in West Point, Georgia.
Nic Jönsson, driver, #10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup: “It’s all teamwork. The guys have been working so hard. We got this car back in July 2009, and last year was a building block year. We came out with a couple of Top 5 finishes and we are pleased with that. We had a podium, second place, at Daytona. The goal for this year was to have one or two podiums. Now we have a victory and a second place in three races. I’m quite emotional. To bring Kia to the top of the charts in one of the toughest series in the world in less than two years…that says a lot about the Kinetic Motorsports guys. They have been working so hard and they keep digging. I couldn’t be happier and want to say a big thank you to all the families of all the Kinetic employees because they all sacrifice a lot for the team. We get to do all the fun stuff, like driving. They get to work all the extra hours to make sure the cars are right for us. Those guys are really the ones who make it happen. This Kia car is unbelievable. It’s so fantastic! I have to really thank Kia Motors America and everybody else involved. I couldn’t be happier.”
Michael Galati, driver, #10 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup: “It’s hard to express my feelings right now. It’s fantastic for me. This is my second race with the team and I’m very impressed with the guys, the organization, and to be back in Grand-Am again. The car was really good and I have to hand it to all the crew, Michael Sprague, Nic, and Kia Motors. I used to run here a lot. We started the weekend bad because we had some problems in practice. We only had about four laps before qualifying. Once we started the race, we worked hard and then I gave the car to Nic until the end. The win is fantastic. I want to thank the Kinetic team and Kia Motors America for helping us, I’m so proud to be part of this team. It’s great to be back here winning again.”
Michael Sprague, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Kia Motors America: “All I can say is wow! It’s just fantastic! The team just did a phenomenal job. Michael and Nic work so well together. And Adam and Trevor do as well in terms of both cars working well throughout the whole race. For the Kia brand, this is huge. Kia in victory lane, number one, in first place is just phenomenal!”
“We have a lot of Kia team members here today because we’re so close to our plant down in West Point, Georgia. The race team was actually at the plant earlier this week. It generated a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. We’ve got a lot of our local dealers here as well. Everyone is just thrilled to pieces. We had one of our racecars visiting several of the dealers this week and had lots of people coming in to see it. One dealer said he sold four Forte Koups off of this so they’re really excited. It’s really a big day for us.”
Russell Smith, owner, Kinetic Motorsports: “It is the most fantastic day. The victory was a combination of an enormous amount of hard work by a lot of people, and that’s not just folks at Kinetic, but the folks at Kia, Michael Sprague, Jay Joyer, and all of his team to help promote the series within the company and believe in the power of motorsports to sell cars. It was an incredible, incredible day. Everyone worked hard. The #10 car crew was working on the engine until 5:00 a.m. It goes to show that hard work really does pay off in the end. We are definitely delighted and very proud of all we have achieved here for them. A podium at Daytona and our first victory here at Barber, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Ed Hall, Team Manager, Kinetic Motorsports “Today’s success was a team effort. The guys back at the shop were able to be here to experience the victory we achieved today. Everybody has just put so much into this program…from December and January where they worked until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, until today.”
“Even this weekend the guys stayed from Thursday night until 5:00 o’clock Friday morning to be sure the car was ready to go. Nic and Michael did a great job driving and made no mistakes and did what they had to do and took care of the car. The pit stops were just phenomenal. I’m not sure what the times were on them, but you turned around and the car was going back out of the Pit Box. All the practice and the hard work of the engine guys, the fabrication guys, the machine shop, and the guys in the race shop is fantastic.”
Adam Burrows, driver, #12 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup: “Today is for sure all about Kia getting their first professional win. It’s huge for the manufacturer and a big thank you goes out to everybody at Kia Motors America. A big congratulation also goes out to Nic and Michael. Trevor and I definitely didn’t have our best weekend ever, we definitely struggled with the understeer and oversteer of the car and just couldn’t really get the car underneath us. We hung in there and got a Top Ten and it is certainly gratifying, in particular since this is the first race this season where we finished on the lead lap. So another big thank you goes out to all the crew and Kia, and a big congratualtions to the rest of the team for the win.”
Trevor Hopwood, driver, #12 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koup: "Congrats to the whole Kinetic team and Kia Motors America. Nic and Michael did a great job, they just stuck to it all weekend and it paid off. Adam and I, however, struggled this weekend. I’m happy we came out of here with a Top Ten finish. It was a big tire conservation race, I did my best to save the rears for Adam, because all we did during the pit stop was change fronts. Adam hung in there at the end and kept it in the Top Ten, and did a really great job. We have three really good tracks coming up for us, so hopefully it will be our turn on the podium.”