Kimmel Rallies for a Top-Five Finish at Michigan; Earns Third-Straight Top-Five BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 12, 2010) - Fuel mileage hurt Frank Kimmel's chances of victory at Pocono Raceway last weekend but saved the day for the Ansell/Menards team at...
Kimmel Rallies for a Top-Five Finish at Michigan; Earns Third-Straight Top-Five
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 12, 2010) - Fuel mileage hurt Frank Kimmel's chances of victory at Pocono Raceway last weekend but saved the day for the Ansell/Menards team at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in the Racing for Wildlife 200 Friday afternoon. Kimmel fought the handling of his No.44 Ford Fusion all afternoon, but with a little bit of luck on his side, he was able to score his third straight top-five finish. The fifth-place finish moved Kimmel up one position in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards championship point standings; he now sits fifth, only 165 markers behind leader Patrick Sheltra.
As the only former MIS winner entered in the 42-car field, Kimmel knew the keys to success at the 2.0-mile oval would be fuel mileage and a good handling car. The nine-time ARCA Racing Series Champion and team worked on handling during the entire practice session Thursday afternoon, fighting a tight condition. Despite the tight condition, Kimmel still posted times in the top-10 on the speed charts and qualified ninth for the 200 mile event.
Craig Goess led the stars of the ARCA Racing Series to the green flag, and Kimmel took off right away, passing three cars during the first two laps and moving up to sixth position. Kimmel rode there while the field began to string out, but it didn't take long for the tight condition that plagued the Ansell/Menards Ford all afternoon to affect the car, dropping him back to eighth on lap 20 as he radioed to crew chief Bill Kimmel Jr. that his car was "tight in and tight off."
The first yellow of the afternoon came out on lap 27, bringing the field to pit road and allowing the Ansell/Menards team to work on the handling of their car. The team pitted for four fresh Hoosier tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment and sent Kimmel back on his way.
Kimmel took the restart from the 14th position on lap 35, and it only took two laps for him to radio his crew that the car was "tight, tight, tight," adding that he had "zero front grip." Kimmel did all he could to keep his Ford Fusion competitive, searching for a line on the racetrack that would help the handling. While Kimmel was able to climb his way to the 11th position, a long green-flag run didn't allow the Ansell/Menards crew to work on the car, and Kimmel went one lap down to leader Goess on lap 73.
Kimmel caught some good luck when the yellow flag came out on lap 77, while the field was in the middle of green flag pit stops. The timely caution left only four cars on the lead lap. The No. 44 Ford Fusion had good fuel mileage and was able to stay out longer then several of the leaders, so Kimmel sat in the fifth position, the first car one lap down. He received the Lucky Dog, placing him back on the lead lap for the final restart.
During the yellow flag, Bill Kimmel Jr. called his driver to the pits for their final stop, changing four tires, adding fuel, dropping the air pressure and making a track bar adjustment. Kimmel had to restart from the tail end of the field, after receiving the lucky dog, and was able to maintain his fifth-place position for the final 18-lap shootout.
"We struggled with the Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion all day," said Kimmel. "We are really lucky to come away with a fifth-place finish. Overall, it was a solid run and a good points day for us, so we'll take it and get ready for Iowa."
The ARCA Racing Series will take a three-week intermission before heading to Iowa Speedway July 10th, where Kimmel will make his 400th-career start.
-source: kimmel racing