Despite Questions Marks for Kimmel, Full Speed Ahead for Michigan Int'l Speedway BROOKLYN MI (6-6-08) -- Nothing's for sure in life unless you talk to nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, who, despite his race-by-race tenure, says...
Despite Questions Marks for Kimmel, Full Speed Ahead for Michigan Int'l Speedway
BROOKLYN MI (6-6-08) -- Nothing's for sure in life unless you talk to nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, who, despite his race-by-race tenure, says that he'll be at Michigan Int'l Speedway no matter what.
And that speaks volumes for Kimmel who wasn't even planning to go to Pocono a week earlier until a sponsor popped up in the final hour. Had Kimmel missed the Pocono race, it would have broken his streak of 245 consecutive series starts.
"Everything's race by race at the moment," said Kimmel from the garage at Pocono. "We definitely wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Codemasters GRID, who stepped up enough to get us here. But, at the moment, it's a one-race deal.
"Hopefully, we won't scratch up the car here, because this is the car we're taking to Michigan."
Kimmel has been in the sponsorship struggle mode since leaving his former car owner Larry Clement at the tail-end of the 2007 season. Kimmel forged ahead to form his own Kimmel Racing team, but found out the car ownership role can be every bit as challenging as his job in the driver's seat, sometimes way more.
"In the past, Larry (Clement) handled all the sponsorships, so it's been rather stressful to add that element to our program. With the economy where it's at, there's a serious lack of money floating around out there, so it's been tight on all of us.
"But we've been very fortunate too. Ford has really stepped up with help and equipment. We just need a marketing partner to help see us through the season. We've got the best equipment we've ever had. Equipment-wise, we're in great shape -- we just need some help getting it all down the road.
"If we were to tear up our car here (Pocono), we do have another car identical to this one, but we'd have to change it over from a Cup car to an ARCA car. It'd be a lot of work in the time we have to work with, but we're prepared to do it if necessary. Michigan is a very important track to Ford, and we have every intention of, not only being there, but being competitive.
"Right now, we've got five cars -- three intermediates and two short-track cars. And they're all very good cars.
"You have to have a very good car to be competitive at Michigan. It's all about the car there. If the car's good, you go fast at Michigan; if it's not, you don't. It's a combination aero/power track, and you've got to be right on everywhere.
"Michigan's definitely one of my favorite tracks. It's really smooth; you can run anywhere you want. It's definitely one of the coolest places we go, and one of my personal favorites.
"It really feels like going home for me. It's the coolest thing. We all stay at a very good friend's house. Her name is Estelle Roberts -- we call her Stella. We met her through a mutual friend and she's been feeding and putting up our crew for years. We all sleep down in her basement. Our record is 18 guys at the moment. We don't get much sleep, but it's a blast. She feeds us great food and takes great care of us. She's absolutely wonderful. We look forward to going to her place in Brooklyn as much as anything else. It's all part of the Michigan experience."
The upcoming Friday afternoon, June 13th Racing for Wildlife 200 at Michigan Int'l Speedway marks the 27th appearance of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Michigan Int'l Speedway.
For Kimmel, the event will mark his 20th career start at Michigan since 1992. The Clarksville, Indiana second-generation driver has won twice at Michigan in 1998 and 2005. In all, Kimmel has seven top-five finishes at Michigan.
After seven events in 2008, there have already been seven different winners: Annett at Daytona, Justin Allgaier at Salem, Matt Hawkins at Iowa, Speed at Kansas, Joey Logano at Rockingham, Stenhouse at Kentucky and Matt Carter at Toledo. Hawkins, Logano, Stenhouse and Carter are all first-time winners.
Practice for the 27th running of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Michigan Int'l Speedway is from 10:00 AM -- 12 noon Thursday, June 12th followed by SIM Factory Pole Award Qualifying at 3:00 PM. Justin Hobgood is the current one-lap track record holder at MIS with a speed of 188.210 mph set back in 2004. The race is LIVE on SPEED Friday, June 13th at 5:00 PM ET.