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 |  Apr 01 2012, 11:01 AM

Professional racing is a difficult sport to get into. Just having talent can only take you so far; getting the right eyeballs on you at the right time is what will get you a ride in a real series.

A.J. Allmendinger knows just how hard it can be to get your foot in the door. The NASCAR Sprint Cup racer won the Champ Car Grand Prix of Denver back in 2006, but remembers that none of it would have been possible without the help of Paul Tracy, 2003 Champ Car champion. So now that Allmendinger has established himself as a formidable racer in various forms of motorsports, he has decided to give back in helping find the next young driver for the future of the sport.

“I think racing is the hardest sport to get into because it’s not just about talent — it’s about off the racetrack, on the racetrack, it’s about luck, and it’s about being in the right place at the right time. I was very fortunate. It seemed like I was always in the right place at the right time,” said Allmendinger.

This season his Walldinger Racing Karting Scholarship has come to fruition and the first youngster to receive it is Kyle Kirkwood from Florida. Kirkwood began racing karts at the young age of five and already has several titles under his belt.

Now 13 years of age, Kirkwood will be racing a full season in the World Karting Association (WKA) Manufacturer’s Cup Series with Allmendinger backing his campaign. Kirkwood will also get the opportunity to compete at the Rotax Grand Nationals and SuperKartsUSA SuperNationals.

In his first week racing under the Walldinger scholarship, Kirkwood participated in four different categories in the WKA Zoom Zoom Nationals at Carolina Motorsports Park in South Carolina. He finished first in one category, claimed second in another, and sixth, and 10th in the remaining two.

Currently KartSport and Sparco are also involved with the Walldinger Racing Karting Scholarship, but Allmendinger is hoping to announce more sponsorships in the coming weeks.

[Source: The Globe and Mail]