Salem: Frank Kimmel preview

Kimmel Racing Heads to Salem with an Eye on Win ...

Kimmel Racing Heads to Salem with an Eye on Win #10 at the Historical Speedway

CORNELIUS, N.C. (March 31, 2009) -- 'Nine-time' takes on a new meaning as Kimmel Racing heads to Salem Speedway for this weekend's Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200. Not only is Frank Kimmel, driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion, a nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion, but he is also a nine-time winner at the a .555-mile paved high banked oval in Salem, Indiana.

"It's actually both comforting and stressful to get back to a track where we've had so much success," said Kimmel. "Comforting because we really enjoy racing in front of our family and local supporters at what we consider our home track, but it's also stressful because there's a certain amount of self-induced pressure we put on ourselves to run up front and contend for wins every time we go to Salem."

Despite the burden to repeat last September's performance at Salem, where Kimmel led 62 laps in route to victory, Kimmel is quick to admit that past success gives Kimmel Racing an edge on the competition.

"Salem is a different kind of track because it's so rough," explained Kimmel. "But I think over the years Bill and I have really come to understand what it takes to be successful at the track."

Aside from his nine wins, Kimmel's overall Salem statistics are equally impressive. In 29 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts at Salem, Kimmel has eight pole awards, 21 top-fives and 1,554 laps led. His accomplishments have made Kimmel the most successful driver in the series' 54-year history of competition at Salem. And his contributions to the venue are not overlooked by the track officials.

"Frank Kimmel has definitely played a significant part in the history of ARCA racing at Salem," said Salem Speedway General Manager Richard Deaton. "It's hard to compare different divisions, but he's definitely one of the top drivers to ever race here. His accomplishments are unparalleled."

Deaton went on to credit Frank will delivering some of the greatest on track battles for a checkered flag at Salem.

"Thanks to Frank Kimmel, we've had some of the most memorable race finishes here at Salem," added Deaton. "He's had a lot of really classy, yet exciting finishes with the likes of Chad Blount, Shelby Howard and dating all the way back to Tim Steele. He's always put on a great show for the fans who come out to see him race."

This Sunday, Kimmel will race for win number 10 at Salem behind the wheel of a car the team calls "the Don".

"We try to name most of our cars, and because this car is used on the dirt, we named it after Don Radebaugh, Director of Public Relations for ARCA, because of his love for the dirt tracks," explained Frank.

"The Don" has visited Victory Lane a total of three times, including last September at Salem.

Despite Kimmel's success at the track, the team -- led by Kimmel's brother and crew chief Bill Kimmel -- refuses to take each return to their hometown track for granted. They completed a one-day test at Salem in mid-March which provided the team with extra time on track.

"Testing at a track before you race there is always useful," said Bill Kimmel. "Even though we've raced at Salem for years, the car and our set ups change a little bit year to year and the track changes --especially Salem, where there's hardly any grip. It definitely helped our team to get some laps at Salem prior to this weekend."

-credit: kr

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