Michigan pre-race notes - Kimmel spotlight

Looking for a Repeat: Kimmel Aiming for Career 3rd ARCA RE/MAX Series Win at MIS TOLEDO OH (5-26-06) -- With seven national driving championships, and a stats package that surpasses most all other active drivers, Frank Kimmel and his Tri-State...

Looking for a Repeat: Kimmel Aiming for Career 3rd ARCA RE/MAX Series Win at MIS

TOLEDO OH (5-26-06) -- With seven national driving championships, and a stats package that surpasses most all other active drivers, Frank Kimmel and his Tri-State Motorsports team have become a name synonymous with the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

And, as the defending champion of the June ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Michigan International Speedway, he remains a crowd favorite to win the upcoming Hantz Group 200, slated for Friday evening, June 16 at 5:15pm. The event will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED.

Last June, Kimmel rocketed to victory at MIS, passing Ken Weaver with 13 laps remaining to win the Hantz Group 200 despite a field of competitors that included a healthy mix of Cup flavor and a rock-solid lineup of series regulars. He earned his first victory at the 2.0-mile track in 1998.

And, Kimmel's victory last June may have marked a turning point for the crafty veteran. After all, by crossing the finish line first, he was able to break a seven-year winless streak at MIS.

Over the years, Kimmel has had his share of misfortune at Michigan. He finished 19th last August after struggling with mechanical problems all day. He has three finishes outside of the top 20 in fifteen career starts.

But with one win and one Pork Pole award already under his belt in 2006, Kimmel has plenty of momentum heading into MIS. He's already a strong contender in this season's national championship points race. And his career thus far has been quite impressive...

In 2005, Kimmel joined Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt as the only drivers in auto racing history to win seven championships on a national stock car tour that competes on both short tracks and superspeedways.

Six of those titles came consecutively, a feat unmatched in the aforementioned category.

He followed up his champion accolades last January when he was elected by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) to join the All-America First Team in the Touring Series category. The 2005 honor marks the second time he has been selected for the honor, and he remains the only driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history to be elected to the team.

And, this year, Kimmel was selected to join the 2006 Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC), making him the first champion in ARCA RE/MAX Series history invited to compete in the series.

"I'm really, really excited to race in the Crown Royal IROC Series," said Kimmel upon learning of the invitation in January. "I'm very honored that they have given us this opportunity. I would be remiss to say that without racing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series I would never have had the opportunity to race in IROC. The folks at ARCA have been extremely helpful and racing in that series all these years has done a tremendous job preparing me for this opportunity."

Kimmel joins an impressive list of champions from a wide spectrum of racing venues selected to compete in the four-race IROC season schedule, including Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr., Steve Kinser, Ted Musgrave, Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor, Max Papis, Carl Edwards, Sam Hornish, Jr., Scott Sharp and Matt Kenseth.

Race fans eager to catch Kimmel in action need look no further than Michigan International Speedway, where the seven-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion is among those entered for the Hantz Group 200. The Friday, June 16, 2006 event serves as a prelude to a full weekend of racing activities, including Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event and Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race.

-arca

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Series ARCA
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Scott Sharp , Max Papis , Wayne Taylor , Richard Petty , Steve Kinser , Max Angelelli , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Ken Weaver , Mark Martin