WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jimmy Simpson of Delta Tau Delta won Sunday's (April 26) 58th annual Purdue University Grand Prix race. The race was held Sunday after rain postponed Saturday's scheduled race.
It was the third consecutive Grand Prix victory for Simpson, only the second driver to achieve that feat. Ian Smith won three straight Grand Prix races in 1993-95. Timothy O'Brien is the only other three-time winner, crossing the finish line first in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
While Simpson dominated the race - taking the lead at the green flag from his pole position and leading all but one lap of the 160-lap race - he said it was anything but easy.
"This was absolutely the longest Grand Prix of the three I've driven," said the fourth-year senior who is studying organizational leadership and supervision. "There were constant clusters of cars and traffic all over the track throughout the race. Usually, there's more attrition and fewer cars as the race goes on but that didn't happen. I'm very tired."
Among Simpson's adventures were being bumped in the rear by another kart at about lap 50 and then having a fuel line break with 30 laps to go.
Delta Racing's Jimmy Simpson drives to his third straight Purdue Grand Prix victory on Sunday (April 26). Chip Challis, a senior, finished second and senior Daniel Leeds was third in the 58th annual race. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) Download Photo
"I actually got nailed in the rear bumper a couple of times, and I thought, 'oh, no,' and then when the fuel line broke late in the race I thought 'oh, no' again, but this kart is built really well, it held together and we were able to win," he said. "I want to thank all the guys on the crew. The reasons we won are those guys and this kart."
Simpson also has excelled in the electric vehicle grand prix. In 2013 he became the first driver to win both the "gas" Grand Prix and the Purdue evGrand Prix. In 2012 he won both the evGrand Prix at Purdue and the Purdue Collegiate evGrand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Chip Challis, driving for Pi Kappa Phi Racing, finished second in Sunday's Grand Prix.
"It was a great race. We started strong, fell back some but pushed hard through the whole thing," said Challis, a senior studying aerospace engineering. "The team did a great job and an incident on the track helped us move back up. I’m happy."
Daniel Leeds, a senior studying mechanical engineering and technology, finished third. James Schnabel of IUPUI Team #2, a junior majoring in motor sports and mechanical engineering, was fourth. Daniel Ortega, a student in the School of Industrial Engineering, was fifth.
Daniel Leeds, left, a driver for Kappa Sigma Racing, congratulates Jimmy Simpson of Delta Tau Delta on Sunday (April 26) after Simpson won the 58th Purdue Grand Prix. Leeds finished third. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) Download Photo
Official results from the 2015 Grand Prix will be released Monday (April 27), following a standard review by the race's scoring board.
Brian Cardinal, a key member of the Purdue men's basketball team from 1996-2000 who also played for 12 years in the NBA, served as grand marshal for the event. Cardinal, who earned a bachelor's degree in management, was Purdue's Most Valuable Player his senior season and was a four-time recipient of the Ray Eddy "Mr. Hustle" Award, given annually to the Boilermaker who displays the greatest amount of determination, drive and leadership. Cardinal set a school record with 259 career steals to go with 1,584 points and 749 rebounds. After Purdue, he enjoyed a 12-year NBA career with the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. He was a member of the 2011 NBA champion Mavericks.
Grand Prix Student Ambassadors presided over race-related events. They are Amy Burbrink, a junior in the College of Agriculture studying agricultural sales and marketing, and Cameron Mann, a sophomore in the College of Agriculture studying agricultural sales and marketing.
Among their duties, ambassadors serve as spokespeople for the Grand Prix Foundation and encourage race support and business sponsorship. The ambassadors each received a $1,000 scholarship from the Grand Prix Foundation. Eighteen other students received scholarships ranging from $250-$750.
The Grand Prix Foundation is a student-run, nonprofit group that conducts the kart race and related events to raise money for scholarships. The foundation also receives support from Delphi Electronics, SOGA, Wabash National, Subway, BRP, Monster, Triple X, Mike Raisor Ford, Coca-Cola, Lockheed Martin, Bridgestone, Landis + Gyr, Hungry Boiler and Amazon.