From Kansas to Rockingham to ???; Big Questions Marks Still Hang over Kimmel Camp in 2008 ROCKINGHAM NC (4-24-08) -- Defending ARCA RE/MAX Series national champions Frank and Bill Kimmel are headed for Rockingham Speedway. That is, if they get...
From Kansas to Rockingham to ???; Big Questions Marks Still Hang over Kimmel Camp in 2008
ROCKINGHAM NC (4-24-08) -- Defending ARCA RE/MAX Series national champions Frank and Bill Kimmel are headed for Rockingham Speedway. That is, if they get out of Kansas Speedway without tearing the fenders off their unsponsored no. 44 Ford Taurus.
Despite being off to their best season in 10 years, there is still a big question mark hanging over the Kimmel camp for the remainder of 2008.
"It's really a double-edged sword," said Frank Kimmel. "We're off to the best start ever here, and we're not even sure we can finish it out.
"We're using the same car here at Kansas that we used at Iowa. And if we don't tear it up, we're taking it to Rockingham. We had no back-up car at Iowa. We've got no back-up here at Kansas. That's where we're at."
Kimmel, who drove for car owner Larry Clement for all nine of his national championships, left the no. 46 Clement Racing entry to start his own Kimmel Racing team in 2008. However, the stars didn't line up exactly right, the sponsor fell through and left Kimmel holding the bag.
"If it wasn't for Ford, we wouldn't be here at all. But we need a sponsor in the worst way. Our plan is take this same car (Kansas car) to Rockingham, but beyond that, there are no guarantees."
Whereas Kimmel's crew has long been accustomed to sleeping in nearby hotels, Kimmel's volunteer, seven-man operation here at Kansas is crammed inside his motorhome during race week.
Whereas Kimmel's crew is used to working out of Clement's full-sized racecar hauler, the defending champions are working out of a 26-ft. enclosed tag-trailer here at Kansas, the same trailer they'll work out of at Rockingham, if they're lucky enough to go.
The Kimmel Racing team is headed up by Frank's brother and long-time crew chief -- eight-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Bill Kimmel.
"To tell you the truth, I'm not discouraged," said Bill Kimmel. "In fact, just the opposite; I'm encouraged. We're obviously here because we want to be. We had a good run at Iowa, but it didn't cover our travel expenses and tire bill. Our current situation makes me want to work even harder to make something happening. Even with our thin lines, we're making big results on the track."
Despite the situation at hand, Kimmel is currently second in points, 45 markers away from point leader Justin Allgaier, and five ahead of rookie Matt Carter, who, ironically, is driving the familiar 46 car that Kimmel recently vacated.
"Hopefully, we won't tear the fenders off the car here at Kansas, so we can go into Rockingham with the same piece," added Frank. "I've been so excited about racing at Rockingham, so I'll be really disappointed if, for whatever reason, we don't get to go; but we plan on being there.
"Funny thing is, I've never seen the place (Rockingham) before. I've heard it described as a giant Salem. If that's the case, maybe we'll be okay."
In another Ironic twist, Kimmel left Kansas Speedway early today with a tuxedo strung over his shoulder. Someone, not disclosed here, has chartered a plane for Kimmel so he can attend tonight's International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega Alabama. Kimmel hopes to stumble up into his motorhome here in Kansas sometime tonight (early morning) at about 2 or 3:00 am. The ARCA RE/MAX Series garage opens at 6:00 am for Friday's 8th annual Kansas Lottery $150 Grand.
Beyond Kansas, it's off to Rockingham for the revival of the Carolina 500. On track activities at Rockingham begin on Friday May 2nd at 2:00 P.M. with practice for the Carolina 500 and free admission to the grandstands. Savage Energy Pole Day is set for Saturday May 3rd with the first round of qualifying starting at 10:00 A.M. Tony Stewart will wave the green flag to start the Carolina 500 on Sunday May 4th at 12-noon, LIVE on SPEED.
For more information or to order tickets for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Carolina 500 on May 4th and the Hooter's Pro Cup American 200 on November 1st please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit our website at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.