Kimmel Racing Faces Challenges in Front of Ansell's Hometown Crowd; Finishes 14th at Pocono LONG POND, P.A. (June 6, 2009) -- Driving the No. 44 Ansell / Menards Ford Fusion, Frank Kimmel took the green flag in third place during today's...
Kimmel Racing Faces Challenges in Front of Ansell's Hometown Crowd; Finishes 14th at Pocono
LONG POND, P.A. (June 6, 2009) -- Driving the No. 44 Ansell / Menards Ford Fusion, Frank Kimmel took the green flag in third place during today's Pocono ARCA 200. After inclement weather forced ARCA officials to cancel qualifying for the third time this season, the lineup was based on this year's car owner standings in which the No. 44 team currently sits third.
The first caution flag flew on the first lap as Kimmel fell back to fifth place. Kimmel reported to crew chief/brother Bill Kimmel that the car was already feeling very tight. Kimmel restarted the race in fifth on lap 7. Within one lap, Kimmel lost five spots.
On lap 9 Kimmel blew a right front tire but managed to keep the car on the track and out of the wall. As he made his way to pit road, several cars spun off turn four giving Kimmel the chance to come down pit road and not lose a lap.
The over the wall crew charged right side tires and then returned to pit road for left sides. With only limited damage to the right front fender, Kimmel returned to the track in 28th place but pit again for fuel with the team's strategy to go the distance with just one more stop. This strategy would play into their hands with a long green flag run.
On the lap 14 restart, Kimmel went to work on the field and was up to 15th place by lap 18 - just four laps in and Kimmel had passed 13 cars for position. By lap 26, Kimmel had gained five more positions up to the 10th spot. The No. 44 car's return to the top-10 gave the team new hope for a win in front of the 150 guests on site from Ansell.
Just when things were looking up, Kimmel reported another flat tire, this time the left front.
He came down pit road on lap 28 for fuel and left sides but returned to the track in 20th place, one lap down. On lap 32 the second caution flag of the day flew.
Kimmel Racing made the choice to pit for two tires only in hopes of being the first car one lap down and battling for the lucky dog. Kimmel's crew performed a smooth and efficient stop and Kimmel restarted the race in 16th place, the first car one lap down in position to get the lucky dog in the event of a caution.
Unfortunately, when the caution flag flew, another car had been lapped by the leaders and got the prized lucky dog. Kimmel's crew made their last scheduled pit stop for the day and Kimmel returned to the track in the 14th place as the second car one lap down. Kimmel went to work on the cars in front of him but the lead lap cars were fast and furious in the closing 20 laps of the race. Kimmel was able to move into lucky dog position once again.
When the checkered flag finally flew on the 80-lap event, Kimmel came home in 14th place in an event won by NASCAR rising star Joey Logano.
"That was pretty disappointing with the tires early," said Kimmel. "We wanted to put on a good show for Ansell and their guests but we had those issues early and we got a lap down there and that's tough to get back. Overall, I thought the car was pretty good on exit but when I went into turn one, the car is just bouncing real hard so I think the other guys were beating us getting into the corners and through the center.
"Regardless, I think we learned a few things that will help us when we come back in August and that's what we'll focus on in the coming weeks."
With the 7th race in the books, the ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for next week Friday's Racing for Wildlife 200.