Frank Kimmel and the No.44 Ansell/Menards team will run the Tire Kingdom 150 presented by ModSpace on February 27, the first-ever stockcar sanctioned race at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway. A self-proclaimed "oval-racer,"...
Frank Kimmel and the No.44 Ansell/Menards team will run the Tire Kingdom 150 presented by ModSpace on February 27, the first-ever stockcar sanctioned race at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway.
A self-proclaimed "oval-racer," Kimmel has secured top-ten finishes in all of his seven road course starts, most recently earning a ninth and tenth place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Frank Kimmel, driver of the #44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion:
Kimmel and the Ansell/Menards Ford participated in the open test session along with 19 other ARCA drivers on Feb. 8.
Kimmel PBIR "The test went really well for us. The team and I were really happy with the way the car preformed. I liked the track, and we all had a lot of fun testing. The car ran well, so we're looking forward to the race this weekend."
Coming off a rough weekend in Daytona, how did the team revamp and get prepared for Palm Beach?
"The best way to get over a bad race is to transition into the next event and have a good race. After Daytona, we immediately headed towards Palm Beach for the test, so we already had our focus on the next race. Personally, I traveled to Charlotte, N.C. to take motors back from Daytona and pick up transmissions from G-Force South for the road course. I got a chance to swing by and see my kids at college while I was there too."
"As a team, we've been doing this a long time, so you can expect problems like what happened in Daytona to happen-you just hope they don't. It was just one of those weekends that we had a very good car, and I think we were going to contend for a top spot. At the end of the day, we would've been at the front, but it just didn't happen. Daytona is that kind of deal sometimes. You just have to take what you can get from it and move on."
Even though you consider yourself more of an oval track driver, you have never finished outside of the top-10 at a road course. Has your idea of road courses changed throughout your career with your success at these tracks?
"I really enjoy road courses, they're always fun. I don't feel like I'm a very accomplished road racer because I don't get to do it enough. Sometimes, I have a hard time telling Bill and the team the adjustments the car needs to be better, since I'm out on the track just trying to get comfortable. But, it's a good confidence booster knowing that we've had some good success with road racing. It's a race where you have to be smart, be there at the end of the day and take what your car has to give you. That's what we've done well over the years, and I'm glad we've got a couple of road races on the 2010 schedule. Overall, I'm really happy that we got to test, and I expect to go into Palm Beach and be competitive."
Since ARCA has never run at Palm Beach, how do expect the field to react with having only a one-day test session at the track?
"A road course kind of spreads out a little bit more than a typical oval track, so that will alleviate some of the congestion. I'm sure there will be some incidents, whether it comes from lack of experience or how road courses are in general for people. All-in-all, I'm sure it's going to be an exciting day to watch the race."
How has the partnership with G-Force South helped your team prepare for PBIR?
"The people at G-Force South have done my transmissions for about 10 years, and it's honestly something we don't have to worry about at the race track. It's a comfort for us because we don't have to worry if it's going to break or anything-they always work well. G-Force South has been wonderful to us. They always put out a great product, and with the way I shift these cars, it's a good thing they're tough!"
What kind of challenges do you anticipate going into the Palm Beach race?
"It's a big race track out there. We're just going to have to go out there and do our thing. I think our year-long goal is to do what we know is best for us and race as hard as we can. The biggest challenge is that there are going to be some really good road course racers out there that will be showing up with good equipment. So, we'll have to make good pit stops and make good decisions inside and outside of the car. If we do these things, I think we'll come out of there with a really good day."
Have you looked for advice from anyone for PBIR like you did when you approached NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Scott Speed for the New Jersey road course race last year?
"Not really. I haven't given thought as far as trying to talk to someone for advice. I think we've been racing long enough now that we're at the level where we've got to get ourselves going on our own. We need to do what we think is right for our team and what is good for me on the track. What I need may not be what a typical road racer would want out of a car. I've got to make the car fast, so I can drive it fast. We've figured out that we better go do our own thing, take the bumps as they come, run as good as we can, learn from our mistakes and go out there again."
Did the PBIR test session help you feel more comfortable in the car?
"Absolutely-our main goal of the test was to get some laps logged. I think that it was a great test session for us. I'm comfortable with the race track, so I know what turn is coming up and where I want to be with the car. I have figured out where the car runs best for me. Also, this session was the first time we've ever changed springs at a road course. Normally, we just go with what we've got and run with it. But, we actually got to work on some car set-ups and were able to improve the car for what I need-and that is the key to make our car top-notch come race day."
-source: frank kimmel PR