9-Time Champ Frank Kimmel Looking for ARCA RE/MAX Series Win Number 10 at Toledo TOLEDO OH (8-28-09) - It was May 22nd, 1994 at Toledo Speedway when and where a young, strappin' buck by the name of Frank Kimmel, in an Oldsmobile believe it or...
9-Time Champ Frank Kimmel Looking for ARCA RE/MAX Series Win Number 10 at Toledo
TOLEDO OH (8-28-09) - It was May 22nd, 1994 at Toledo Speedway when and where a young, strappin' buck by the name of Frank Kimmel, in an Oldsmobile believe it or not, held off Dave Weltmeyer to earn his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory.
It was a thrilling green-white-checker finish that brought the packed house to its feet. In the days before transponders, the official result sheet read, and still reads: Margin of Victory - 4 feet.
Little could anyone predict at that time that Kimmel would one day earn nine national championships and 74 career victories in the world's most versatile stock car tour.
Nine of those 74 wins happened at that renowned little half-mile oval on Benore Road in Toledo, Ohio. No driver, after 65 events at Toledo since 1963, has more wins at Toledo than Kimmel.
"I absolutely love Toledo Speedway," said Kimmel. "The ARCA RE/MAX Series belongs on these half-mile tracks, the Salem's, the Toledo's, the Winchester's. I'm not saying we don't have a place on the superspeedways, but the short-tracks are where the series roots are, where it built much of its character and identity."
Kimmel recently reached yet another milestone when he surpassed the 10,000 laps-led mark on the Springfield mile-dirt last Sunday.
"To lead laps and to reach the milestone of 10,000 laps led was a huge accomplishment for us. It's hard to believe that we've actually done that."
Unfortunately for the Clarksville, Indiana stock car legend, he is winless in 2009.
"Yah, that's a monkey we really need to get off our back. We've improved our overall program; it's just a matter of putting it all together on raceday. But we're getting closer every time we go out. Toledo would be the perfect place for us to get our 75th win.
"Toledo is really a racy little track; you can run side by side and mistakes aren't as costly as they might be at a Salem or a Winchester. You can recover from a bad corner and come back a little easier. It's definitely one of my favorite tracks.
"The race strategies at Toledo have changed quite a bit over the last half-dozen years or so. There was a time when you could pit pretty late, bolt new tires on and come back and win the thing.
"But nowadays, there are so many cars on the lead lap at the end that you have to rethink when you can pit, and how late you can pit. New tires work better, but not enough to get you from the middle of the pack to the front in time. The competition is just too strong for that anymore."
Even though Toledo Speedway's six hours away from his southern Indiana shop, it certainly must feel like home for Kimmel.
"Toledo's like a second home to me," said Kimmel. "It's where I won my first ARCA race. It'll always be special to me for that reason alone; but the wins there just seem to get better and better."
Despite Kimmel's nine Toledo triumphs, which include four consecutive 2000 through 2003, the Clarksville, Indiana stock car legend hasn't won there in four years.
In 28 Toledo starts since 1990, Kimmel's won just over one-third of all the races he's entered there, which is unprecedented, without even saying so. And there was that time in 2006 when Kimmel dominated with 182 of 200 laps-led and didn't win.
"Yah, we gave that one away; that was our fault. We pitted late for tires, gave up the lead, and just didn't have time to come back. Still kicking myself for that one."
Through it all, 'The Champ's' led 1,113 laps in 17 races at Toledo. Among his 28 starts at Toledo are 20 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s - pretty solid stat stuff.
Practice is scheduled Friday, September 4th from 2:00-3:30 PM followed by Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 5:00 PM. The ARCA RE/MAX Series 200 presented by Federated and Belle Tire is slated to roll off at 8:30 PM under the lights. All on-track activities will be featured in live streaming video and audio at ARCAracing.com through the ARCA Racing Network.
The University of Toledo Rocket Marching Band will be performing on the frontstretch during pre-race ceremonies, which includes an on-track driver autograph session.