Rockingham: Frank Kimmel race report

Frank Kimmel Finishes 11th at Rockingham Speedway ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (April 19, 2009) -- Frank Kimmel and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards team completed the weekend at Rockingham Speedway with a solid 11th place finish in the Carolina 200. Earlier in...

Frank Kimmel Finishes 11th at Rockingham Speedway

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (April 19, 2009) -- Frank Kimmel and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards team completed the weekend at Rockingham Speedway with a solid 11th place finish in the Carolina 200.

Earlier in the day and prior to climbing aboard his Ford Fusion, Kimmel was hopeful that the weather would positively impact the handling of his car.

"It's pretty overcast today," said Kimmel. "So that should give the track more grip and probably help with some of what we were fighting yesterday in practice."

A wild start to the race gave way to an early caution. Kimmel was shown in 11th place having moved up four spots from his starting position. The green flag flew for the restart on lap 10 and Kimmel began to battle for a spot in the top-10.

Despite his efforts to advance, Kimmel struggled with the handling of his Ford and lost a spot before settling into 12th place.

When the next caution flag flew on lap 22, Kimmel was quick to discuss with Crew Chief Bill Kimmel what could be done to improve the Ansell/Menards Ford.

"It's better than yesterday but I still need more grip from the center off," said Kimmel. "I've been running mostly on the bottom but I think we'd be better up top if we could make that work."

When racing resumed, so did Kimmel's focus on moving up through the field. He made his first entrance into the top-10 on lap 30.

Kimmel came onto pit road on lap 61 for four tires, fuel and adjustments Despite an extended stop, Kimmel was able to gain one spot on pit road.

Nearing the halfway point of the race, Kimmel was recording solid lap times prompting encouragement from Bill Kimmel over the radio.

"That's real good Frank," radioed Bill. "That's eighth place right there and you're as fast as the leader these last couple laps."

The second half of the event made way for some on track drama. Raindrops began to fall and the caution came out for a spin on the backstretch. The Kimmel brothers discussed strategy of staying out hoping for the rain to pick up. Ultimately they chose to take the safe route and came in for tires and fuel.

After his pit road service, Kimmel restarted the race in 18th place. He quickly advanced into the top-15 and returned his attention to hitting his marks on track. By lap 150, Kimmel was holding on to the 11th place spot and working to stay on the lead lap ahead of race leader Ken Schrader who held a dominant stretch on the field.

On lap 152, Schrader passed Kimmel putting the No. 44 Ansell / Menard Ford Fusion one lap down, but Kimmel hung tight hoping to stay in position to get the Lucky Dog free pass if and when a caution flag flew.

A caution never came and the long green flag run at the end had a few of the competitors worrying about making it to the end on fuel.

Bill Kimmel radioed his driver that it was going to be close on fuel but that they could make it.

When the checkered flag finally flew, Kimmel Racing came home in 11th place and remains 4th place in the ARCA RE/MAX Championship standings.

"Today was typical Rockingham, just no grip," said Kimmel. "Our car just didn't turn very good all day. It didn't even turn good enough to run the outside lane, which pretty hurts your overall program. Just a tough day overall for this Ansell/Menards team. We need to come here to test before we come back in October. I think that's the best plan to get our Rockingham program up to where we can compete for a win or even a top-five."

-credit: fkr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel