This Week in Ford Racing Frank Kimmel, driver of the No. 44 Ford Fusion, won last weekend's ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Salem Speedway in Indiana, his hometown track. Kimmel, who is in the hunt for his 10th series championship, has won three of...
This Week in Ford Racing
Frank Kimmel, driver of the No. 44 Ford Fusion, won last weekend's ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Salem Speedway in Indiana, his hometown track. Kimmel, who is in the hunt for his 10th series championship, has won three of the last four races and sits fourth in the standings with only three races to go this season.
YOU'VE NOW WON THREE OF THE LAST FOUR RACES WITH YOUR MOST RECENT COMING AT YOUR HOME TRACK IN SALEM. "Salem is a half-hour from our house and our shop. It's been a place where my dad has raced, my brother [co-owner, Bill] has raced, my son has raced, Bill's son has raced and I, of course, raced there a lot. We just have a tremendous following of fans and family there that always come out for that Salem race. It's a big deal. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to run well there. In the past we've run very, very well and I think in one stretch won five races in a row. Salem is such a rough track and it's so hard on equipment and there's so much activity going on at the track as far as crashes and wrecks and everything. It's so fast that you're pretty much involved no matter if it's anything of your doing or not. It's just a really important race for us and a place that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do well. To go there this year and run as well as we did - we kept the car real clean, got it to then end and were able to win - that was a big day for us. Also, it was my dad's 80th birthday, so that was really cool, too."
WITH HOW MUCH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE RUN AT SALEM, IS IT SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU KNOW ALL OF THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES THERE? "You would think that you would know it, but I swear that the little nooks and crannies become big ones. It just seems like it gets rougher every time we go back. It's in pretty bad shape as far as the surface goes and they're probably going to have to do something in a year or two in to help the asphalt. It's a heck of a race track. I seem to know a lot about it and the way around it, I guess."
IT"S BEEN A PRETTY STREAKY YEAR FOR YOUR TEAM IN TERMS OF RESULTS. "It's really been an interesting year for us. It's been a trying year; very, very difficult in some ways because there is only three of us here all the time. We're all volunteer help. Nobody is getting paid to work on these race cars right now. That part has been really tough. It's hard on the guys and we have a lot of volunteer help that come in whenever they get a day off. If they get off early or something, they'll be showing up at the shop and just walk in and say, 'What can I do?' That part of it has been difficult and it's really tough to be consistent when you're doing things like that because we're not able to test and it seems like whenever we do go to test that we run pretty well at the following race. The recent streak of winning both races on dirt and then coming back and winning at Salem, that's been the highlight of the year for us. It's something that we needed as a team. Whether you have volunteer work or getting paid, a win does a lot. It gives a guy a shot in the arm and they want to come out and help. Now that no one's getting paid right now, it's very important for us."
WOULD YOU RATHER BE ON A HOT STREAK LATE IN THE SEASON WHEN EVERY POINT MATTERS, OR EARLY ON TO GET AHEAD OF THE PACK? "I really like it all year long (laughs), but if I had the choice I would definitely want to get hot towards the end of the year. I think that the ARCA schedule, as it sits, it gets very busy in the last couple months of racing; we run almost every single week. That's very difficult on the ARCA teams and people that don't have full-time employees or somebody back at the shop working every day. That really is tough. But, I think over the years, my brother Bill and I have proven that during this really tough stretch is when we kind of excel and a lot of times put a little bit of distance when we are leading the points. It hasn't happened this year, but we are catching up. It's a good time of year for us, but I definitely would like to get hot at the end of the year."
THERE ARE THREE RACES LEFT AND YOU SIT FOURTH IN THE STANDINGS. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO WIN ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP? "That part of the season is actually a little bit more relaxing. Normally, we're leading the points and everyone's trying to catch us and the last few years, that's the way it's been and that's pretty stressful. This year, we really have nothing to lose. We're fourth in the points. We're a couple of hundred out of first, we're probably only about 100 out of second. The points battle is very close, but we understand that if Scott [Speed] and Matt [Carter] and Ricky [Stenhouse Jr.] continue to do like they've been doing - finishing races and finishing well - then we're probably not going to be able to catch them. We're going to have to have some help from those guys. They're going to have to have maybe a bad race or so in order for us to maybe get caught up, but at the same token we've got the go out and run well. We've got a road course as one of the three races at the end here that's definitely a new adventure for most of us. I've got a little bit of road-course experience, but not much. Most of us in ARCA don't have a lot of road- course experience, but, of course Scott Speed, that's where he came from so we expect him to be very strong there. And I'm sure Ricky and those guys have been doing a lot of testing and getting ready for it. That's kind of a wildcard for us. Of course, Talladega, that's a track where anything can happen and normally does. We just have to go out and do the best that we can in these last three races and if it's good enough to catch up and win this points championship it will be wonderful and if it's not, then we're going to try and get the best finish that we can."
-credit: ford racing