Rockingham II: Frank Kimmel race report

Frank Kimmel 12th at Rockingham; Finishes 3rd in 2009 Championship Points ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2009) -- Kimmel Racing and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards team wrapped up the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series season by scoring a 12th place finish in the ...

Frank Kimmel 12th at Rockingham; Finishes 3rd in 2009 Championship Points

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Oct. 11, 2009) -- Kimmel Racing and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards team wrapped up the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series season by scoring a 12th place finish in the American 200 at Rockingham Speedway.

"Well that wasn't the end to the season we were hoping for," said Frank Kimmel after the race. "I'd say we were clearly the car to beat in the first half. Bill and the crew did an awesome job getting the car where it needed to be during practice yesterday. I was loose up off early in the race and we needed some forward bite so that's when we pitted for tires and a track bar adjustment. Unfortunately, that track bar that helped us in the first 100 laps probably hurt us in the last 100 laps because we just got too tight.

"Then, on that last restart there with less than 40 to go, the 25 car blew up right in front on us and we got into them hard with the right front and knocked the toe out.

After making significant improvements to the car during Saturday's lone practice session, Kimmel and Crew Chief Bill Kimmel Jr. had both entered the morning of the 2009 season finale with a positive outlook.

"I think this is probably the best car we've had all year, as far as a long run is concerned," said Bill Kimmel Jr. prior to the race.

Kimmel took the green flag in eighth place after rounding the one-mile oval in 24.990 seconds Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell. Kimmel quickly advanced up into the top five and by lap 20, Kimmel was shown in fourth place after making a smooth pass on championship contender Parker Kligerman.

Kimmel continued to run laps as fast as the leader, further illustrating just how fast his Ford Fusion was on a long green flag run. While the veteran driver lost one spot to the No. 83 car of Grant Enfinger, he was still holding strong in the top-five at the quarter-way point of the race on lap 50.

A longer than expected green flag run led to the first caution flag on lap 71. Kimmel's over-the-wall crew turned out a lightning fast four tire, fuel and adjustment stop. Kimmel restarted the race in fourth place on lap 74 and did his best to continue his battle towards the front despite the may lay of lapped cars around him.

Kimmel's battle with the No. 77 of Kligerman went on for several laps but Kimmel maintained a hold on the position despite an aggressive challenge from the other driver. Rather than in his rearview mirror at his closest competitor, Kimmel looked ahead by grabbing two spots in front of him in the next 10 laps.

On lap 87, Kimmel was riding in the runner-up spot with his sights on leader Steve Arpin. On lap 90, Kimmel began a steadfast back and forth battle for the lead, which he finally got won on lap 95. Kimmel continued to pull away and put valuable track real estate on the rest of the field. On lap 105, just past the halfway point, Kimmel radioed the crew that he thought he may have a tire rub. In spite of this report, the No. 44 team continued to log laps as the leader until the second caution flag flew on lap 115.

Bill Kimmel Jr. made the decision to come down pit road for tires and fuel. With one set of tires still remaining, the team knew they still had fresh rubber in the pits, if necessary.

After the second round of pit stops, Kimmel restarted the race in fourth place on lap 120. Kimmel maintained the position but reported to the team that his car had gotten progressively tighter. Despite the minor handling concern, Kimmel made the move for third spot on lap 146.

After a long red flag for a wreck in turn two, Kimmel once again restarted the race in fourth spot on lap 160, but met with some bad luck when he bounced off the wall trying to avoid the No. 25 of Steve Arpin, whose motor was blowing up. Kimmel hung on to his tore up racecar the best he could in the closing laps. Ultimately, he finished the final race of the 2009 season in 12th place.

"Overall, we still had a good, solid year with Ansell and Menards," concluded Kimmel. "Make no mistake, though, we've already started working on how we can make our program even better next year. The plan is to be a major contender again in 2010."

-credit: kr

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Steve Arpin , Parker Kligerman , Grant Enfinger