Kimmel Finishes Ninth on New Jersey Road Course MILLVILLE, N.J. (September 13, 2009) -- Frank Kimmel continued his solid season during today's South Jersey Building Trades 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park where the nine-time ARCA Champion ...
Kimmel Finishes Ninth on New Jersey Road Course
MILLVILLE, N.J. (September 13, 2009) -- Frank Kimmel continued his solid season during today's South Jersey Building Trades 150 at New Jersey Motorsports Park where the nine-time ARCA Champion finished ninth, recording his 12th top-ten finish of 2009.
"After the day we had yesterday, with changing motors and missing the second practice, today was a good day for our team and for Ansell and Menards," said Frank Kimmel.
After a challenging first day of on-track action, Kimmel lined up 13th for the 67-lap event. Kimmel Racing's challenges came in the form of broken oil pump during Saturday's first of two practice sessions; a fact which forced the team to change motors. Although the motor hadn't expired, the call was made to change motors to be on the safe side as a broken oil pump may cause long term damage to the motor. The motor change took the duration of the afternoon leading up to qualifying for Sunday's race which meant Kimmel had limited time on track to prepare for the only road course event of the ARCA RE/MAX Series season.
Kimmel gained two spots at the start of the race as two competitors ahead of him went to the back of the field for post qualifying adjustments. When a full course caution flag flew on lap four, Kimmel was shown in the 10th spot with his sights set on advancing through the top-10 pack of cars.
Kimmel asked the team for a track bar adjustment under caution, while Kimmel Racing Crew Chief, Bill Kimmel Jr., discussed pit strategy with his driver after several leading contenders pit for fuel. Kimmel restarted the race in ninth place on lap 6 with plans to pit around lap 30.
Kimmel lost one spot on the restart, but once again settled into 10th place. .
He lost two more spots to the lightening fast cars of Parker Kligerman and Justin Marks. Still shown in 12th place, Kimmel did his best to navigate the 2.25-mile 14-turn road course with a half-mile straightaway.
On lap 17, Kimmel radioed the crew that he had something on his windshield and could not see all that well. As a result, Kimmel's lap times slowed but he was still holding on to 12th place. On lap 20, Kimmel was up to 11th place and was one of only 14 cars on the lead lap.
Kimmel reentered the top-10 on lap 25 when a car in front of him had problems and slowed.
Kimmel Jr. called his driver down pit road on lap 28 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Just as Kimmel was going to duck on pit road, a full field caution required the driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion to remain on the race track for one additional lap. Since Kimmel had yet to pit, he was shown seventh on the leader board. On lap 30, Kimmel finally hit pit road for service and returned to the race track to take the green flag on lap 31 in eighth place.
Kimmel gained a spot on the first lap back to racing as the No. 60 car had problems in front of him.
Racing in seventh place, Kimmel continued to show fans how his veteran skills give him an edge on race day until lap 40 when he radioed his crew that his shifter broke leaving only a nub of a shifter to work with. Despite running in seventh place, Kimmel lost a lap to leader Patrick Long on lap 50.
A full course caution on lap 59 set the field up for a less than ten lap chase to the checkered flag. Several cars made the choice to pit and Kimmel stayed out on the course in hopes of getting on the tail end of the lead lap, which allowed him to start the race directly in front of the leaders. When the field went back to green, Kimmel was passed by the lead lap cars with fresh tires, as well as two other lapped cars. Ultimately, Kimmel took the checkered flag in ninth place.
"As a driver who doesn't necessarily have a ton of road course experience, and even more specifically experience on this road course, I feel like I did all I could to run with those guys," said Kimmel after the race. "Even after my shifter broke just past halfway, we were still running pretty good lap times and we did all we could to survive today. For an oval track racer, a top-ten isn't a bad end to the day."