Kiwi Stevie Walsh to Run Knoxville 360's in 2004 - By Tom Schmeh, KNOXVILLE, IOWA (September 15, 2003) - Stevie Walsh of North Shore City, New Zealand, has been named as the 2004 and final Knoxville International Driver Development (KIDD) program driver. The 20-year-old Walsh will pilot the winged 360-cubic-inch J&J Auto Racing sprinter for team manager Bob Trostle in all weekly programs at the legendary half-mile Knoxville Raceway. In addition, he will compete in the August 11-14, 2004, Knoxville 410-cubic-inch Sprint Car Nationals, including the Kele World Challenge, presented by the Wirtgen Group.
According to Roger Johnson of the sponsoring Kele group of companies, “Having a young New Zealander compete at Knoxville in 2004 will be the natural conclusion of the Knoxville International Driver Development program, having had Australian David Murcott in the seat in 2002 and Canadian Adam West behind the wheel this past year. Stevie has limited experience on the big half-mile, having competed in the Knoxville Nationals this year as a teammate to ‘the First Lady’ Erin Crocker under the Mike Woodring Racing banner. However, the new twist in the KIDD program for 2004 is that Stevie will be competing regularly in a ‘360’, which should make it easier for him to make the transition from the smaller Western Springs Speedway to a track known for it’s wide, sweeping corners.”
In addition, unlike the past two years, the final KIDD candidate was selected in a closed process. National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Bob Trostle met Walsh during this past August’s Knoxville Nationals and decided he had found his driver. Said Bob, “I heard very good words about Stevie’s work ethic, and then saw for myself how eager he was to compete at Knoxville. I think he’ll make a fine racer for us next year!” Supporting the five-year sprint car competitor in the final KIDD ride will be J&J Auto Racing, Sander Engineering, the Kele Companies, Lev Enterprises, Pro Shocks, Laser Engraving, and Larry Weeks Racing. The Knoxville International Driver Development (KIDD) program was jointly initiated in 2002 by Roger Johnson of the Kele Companies, Ralph Capitani of the Knoxville Raceway, and Tom Schmeh of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum.