Veteran Kimmel Confident to Kentucky; Approaching Major Milestone Markers SPARTA KY (7-14-09) - Frank Kimmel is the all-time ARCA RE/MAX Series winner at Kentucky Speedway with four victories. The Clarksville, Indiana stock car driving legend...
Veteran Kimmel Confident to Kentucky; Approaching Major Milestone Markers
SPARTA KY (7-14-09) - Frank Kimmel is the all-time ARCA RE/MAX Series winner at Kentucky Speedway with four victories.
The Clarksville, Indiana stock car driving legend is also the only driver entered in this Saturday's (July 18) Click It or Ticket Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 who has competed in every ARCA race at Kentucky since the series debut on the 1.5-mile Sparta, Kentucky speedplant in 2000.
To be exact, Kimmel has won four out of 18 races at Kentucky, which would be a little over 22% of the time. Pretty stout overall in anyone's book. And when you consider the list of ARCA winners at Kentucky over the years, Kimmel's Kentucky achievements look even better. Other drivers who have won at Kentucky include Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Tim Steele, Scott Speed, Michael McDowell, Erik Darnell, Ryan Hemphill and Steve Wallace to name a few.
However, Kimmel, who is also the all-time lap-leader at Kentucky with 553 laps-led in 11 races, hasn't won at Kentucky since May of 2005. In fact, there have been no repeat winners at Kentucky since Hemphill went back-to-back with wins in 2004.
"Without a doubt, this is the toughest bunch of guys we've ever had in this series; we've been around this deal long enough to know," said Kimmel. "It gets tougher every year, and especially this year with guys like Parker (Kligerman) running so well. All these young guys running this year have their confidence way up, and they're all in really good cars.
"Fortunately, we feel our performance is definitely on the upward swing. Last weekend's seventh place finish (at Iowa) gave us some real momentum heading into the next stretch of races."
And it's so often been in the 'next stretch of races' where Kimmel seems to come to life. Last year, after Kimmel had to sit out at Nashville because of a nasty wreck at Pocono in early August, he responded with three wins at Springfield, DuQuoin and at his hometown Salem Speedway. Outside of an 11th place finish at Chicagoland, Kimmel did not finish out of the top-10 for the remainder of the races in 2008, culminating with a third place finish in the Toledo season finale. The late-season rally catapulted him to second in championship point standings when it was all said and done.
"I think that's really more about the way the schedule falls more than anything else," added Kimmel regarding his late-season rallies. "Normally, we're pretty good at Pocono, and our dirt-track program has been very solid over the last few seasons. Toledo, Salem - they're all real good tracks for us."
And to add more momentum headed to Kentucky, Kimmel tested second quickest among 17 drivers in the ARCA open test there last week. The team is bringing car #440, which they have fondly named "The Biff" as it came from the Roush Racing stable of cars and was once driven by NASCAR veteran Greg Biffle.
"We're pretty optimistic going to Kentucky. We ran good in the spring race and tested better yet. We're taking the same car we tested with (Biff). We feel like we've really improved on all our Ansell-Menard Ford cars. We know how tough these young guys are. We're gunna go at 'em hard as we can."
No doubt, Kimmel is ready to get back to victory lane, but there are also other milestone marks the southern-Indiana stock car star has his sights set on - like the lap-leader category.
Kimmel is already the all-time series superspeedway lap leader with 2,625 laps-led in 79 races. Over the course of his career, he has also led an incredible 9,958 laps in 184 races putting him just 42 laps shy of the 10,000 laps-led milestone. Although he's currently third in championship points, he has not yet led a lap in 2009. "You would have to remind of that," Kimmel ended.
Kimmel, winless in 2009, is also approaching Iggy Katona's all-time win mark of 79 victories. Kimmel currently has 74.
The Click It or Ticket Buckle-Up Kentucky 150, which follows the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, is live on SPEED and marks the 19th appearance of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky Speedway since 2000. In addition, ARCAracing.com will add live timing & scoring and live audio streams of all the on-track activity at Kentucky.