Second Dirt Track Race of the Year Results in Runner-Up Finish for Kimmel Racing DU QUOIN, I.L. (September 8, 2009) -- Frank Kimmel rolled off for the second dirt track race of the year with his sights set on a season best run -- a goal which...
Second Dirt Track Race of the Year Results in Runner-Up Finish for Kimmel Racing
DU QUOIN, I.L. (September 8, 2009) -- Frank Kimmel rolled off for the second dirt track race of the year with his sights set on a season best run -- a goal which was easily met at the end of 100 long laps at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds during yesterday's Southern Illinois 100.
Despite qualifying ninth for the 100-lap event, Kimmel felt good about his car based on what the team did in practice.
"Qualifying and track position may be important but it's more important to have a car that handles and one that feels comfortable to drive," said Kimmel. "Of course I would love to win one of those Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell this year, but were still qualifying solid and doing our best to be competitive throughout the whole event."
When the green flag flew, Kimmel made his mark on the field by advancing up to fourth place, with Kimmel's dirt track know-how giving him an edge on the competition. When the first caution flag flew on lap seven, Kimmel got the encouraging report from his crew chief that the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion was recording the fastest laps in the field.
When the field went back to green, Kimmel made a move for third place. On lap 16, Kimmel took over the second spot from the No. 16 car of Joey Coulter but radioed the crew the car was "real tight through the center." Another caution flag flew on lap 23 and Kimmel was still scored in the second position. A caution flag on lap 28 gave Kimmel the opportunity to ask him team to check on his right front tire which the veteran driver reported had a bad vibration. Kimmel's spotter, Jon Bell, assured his driver that the tires looked fine despite some minor damage to the fender.
The field went back to green flag racing on lap 31 and Kimmel had a challenge for position from the No. 15 of Josh Richards. A lap later Kimmel lost the spot to Richards, but settled into third place. After facing another aggressive challenge from Coulter in the No. 16, as well as pressure from Parker Kligerman in the No. 77, Kimmel settled into fifth place on lap 43. Crew Chief Bill Kimmel Jr. reminded his driver that they would get him freed up during the halfway break in the race. Despite losing another two spots, Kimmel did his best to keep his car turning for several more laps before the competition caution flag flew at lap 50.
Kimmel radioed in that he needed the crew to work on his tight handling condition and the team responded with four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
The field restarted the race, after the scheduled 15-minute break and Kimmel regained several of the positions he had lost within five laps. Kimmel began challenging for fourth place on lap 58 and nearly got the spot before settling back into position. Kimmel, never one to back down, stayed focused on the task and ultimately won out on lap 62.
Under caution on lap 64, Kimmel told the crew the car was the best it had been all day during that last run. With less than 30 laps to go, Kimmel picked up third place from Coulter and continued his charge toward the front.
After scoring the runner up spot from pole sitter A.J. Fike, a late race caution allowed Kimmel the opportunity to battle the No. 77 car for the lead with only two laps to go in the race. Kimmel made a valiant charge for the top spot, but Kligerman pulled away to his seventh victory of the year.
"I was really tight right in the middle of the corner early in the race, which is weird," said Kimmel after the event. "I really couldn't make it the car turn up off at all. I don't think we've ever really had that issue before but Bill (Kimmel Jr. - Crew Chief) and the team did the best they could during the break, to get the car turning better. And it paid off; because the car was the best it had been all day there right after the break. We always want to win, especially on the dirt, but a runner up finish is our best run of the year and I'm proud of what we accomplished today."