Kimmel Grabs Another Top-Five at Pocono Raceway; Earns 18th Career Top-Five at 2.5 Mile Triangle LONG POND, Penn. (June 5, 2010)- Frank Kimmel did not have luck on his side at Pocono Raceway Saturday, but he did have a fast car and wheeled his...
Kimmel Grabs Another Top-Five at Pocono Raceway; Earns 18th Career Top-Five at 2.5 Mile Triangle
LONG POND, Penn. (June 5, 2010)- Frank Kimmel did not have luck on his side at Pocono Raceway Saturday, but he did have a fast car and wheeled his way to a fifth-place finish in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200.
Kimmel came into the weekend with one goal in mind; get Ansell to victory lane at their home track. Although luck was not on his side, Kimmel gave them a good showing all weekend. During qualifying, he turned the second-fastest time, meaning the Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion would lead the field to green from the outside of the front row Saturday afternoon for 80 laps of action.
While Pocono is known as the "tricky triangle," the 2.5-mile track did not trick many of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards drivers, as long green flag runs and fuel mileage was the name of the game for most of the afternoon.
The green flag dropped on the field shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST, but it didn't take long for the field to string out. Mikey Kile took the lead with Craig Goess and Kimmel comfortably falling into second and third. Although he was running fast lap times, Kimmel radioed to his crew chief Bill Kimmel Jr. that he was fighting a tight race car. The car was "tight in the middle and tight off."
On lap 30, the Ansell/Menards team called Kimmel to pit road under green for their first pit stop of the afternoon. The crew went to work changing four tires, refueling, making a track bar adjustment and sending the No. 44 Ford Fusion back to action.
Unfortunately, Kimmel found his first bout of bad luck on lap 34, when the caution waved while the field was cycling through green-flag stops. The caution caught Kimmel one lap down, while running in fifth place. Once all the pit stops were completed, Kimmel restarted the race in fifth place on the tail end of the lead lap, taking the restart right in front of leader Craig Goess.
When the green flag dropped, restarting the field, Kimmel pulled away from the leaders by over four seconds, solidifying his position on the lead lap. Kimmel and the No. 44 team hoped for their luck to change with a yellow flag, so he could cycle around and catch the field.
Again, luck was not on the Ansell/Menards team's side, as another long green flag run ensued. While Kimmel kept his Ford Fusion in front of the leaders, he was once again forced to make a green flag pit stop for fuel on lap 67. The Ansell/Menards team filled the car full of fuel and sent him back out on the track. However, it would take only three laps before the yellow flag flew for the second time, again pegging Kimmel one lap down, leaving only four cars on the lead lap for the final shootout.
"We were able to stay in front of the leaders for that entire run," explained Kimmel. "Unfortunately, we had to make another green-flag stop. Fuel mileage really hurt us."
When the green flag waved for the final time of the afternoon, there were only five laps left to race. Kimmel took the restart in sixth place and flew through the field, easily the fastest car on the track, but due to being caught a lap down, he could only gain one position, finishing the race in the fifth position.
"It was a pretty good day for the Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion," said Kimmel. "I am really happy with the way the car ran, but every run it just seemed to be getting tighter and tighter. Bill made some adjustments, and we were actually really good at the end of the race. All in all, we had a really great car. We will take some notes and go to Michigan and do the best we can."
Although Kimmel did not get the finish he wanted at Pocono Raceway, the Ansell/Menards team is continuing to build momentum for a run at their 10th ARCA Racing Series championship.
"The momentum is still there," claimed Kimmel. "We got ahead of the leaders there at one point and drove away."
The Ansell/Menards team will bring that momentum to Michigan International Speedway next weekend for the Racing for Wildlife 200 on Friday, June 11.
-source: kimmel racing