Kimmel Scores Top-Five at Toledo TOLEDO, O.H. (September 5, 2009) -- The No. 44 Ansell / Menards team turned in another solid run for ARCA fans during Friday night's ARCA RE/MAX 200 presented by Federated and Belle Tire. "A top-five...
Kimmel Scores Top-Five at Toledo
TOLEDO, O.H. (September 5, 2009) -- The No. 44 Ansell / Menards team turned in another solid run for ARCA fans during Friday night's ARCA RE/MAX 200 presented by Federated and Belle Tire.
"A top-five finish is a good, solid day for Ansell and Menards," said driver Frank Kimmel after the race. "So we'll take that momentum to DuQuoin and try to get us a win."
Kimmel, who rolled off 11th for the 200-lap event, had logged the fourth fastest speed in practice giving the driver a solid comfort level with his Ford Fusion in race trim prior to taking the green flag.
Kimmel picked up one position at the start and settled quickly into the top-10 pack of cars. By the time the first caution flag flew on lap 19, Kimmel was up to seventh place. Kimmel radioed his crew that the car was bottoming out badly and he and Crew Chief Bill Kimmel Jr. discussed strategy. Overall, Kimmel reported the car was handling well so for the time, the No. 44 remained on the race track.
Kimmel made quick work of the restart and gained another position up to sixth place before another caution flew on lap 33. Five laps later, Kimmel had another great restart and picked up another spot to finally crack the top-five on lap 39.
Another caution flag on lap 50 allowed Kimmel and crew to work up a plan for how to deal with their bottoming out condition. The crew made the call to stop for fuel and adjustments on lap 52. As one of the only cars to pit, Kimmel restarted the race in 18th place on lap 55. Despite starting deep in the field, Kimmel was up to 11th place by lap 62.
When the caution flag flew once again on lap 64, Kimmel stayed out while several leaders pit, moving the No. 44 car back into the top-five. Kimmel took the green flag in fourth place for the restart on lap 69 but managed to capture the third place spot just six laps later. When the second place car of Ken Schrader pit under caution on lap 80, Kimmel assumed the runner-up spot. Upon restarting the race, Kimmel lost several positions to cars with fresh tires but settled solidly into the fourth spot.
Caution on lap 101 allowed Kimmel to pit for his own fresh rubber and with that, the team made the commitment to battle up through the field in the final 90 plus laps of the race. Kimmel restarted 14th but was back inside the top-10 by lap 126 and up to fifth place by lap 137.
Kimmel was still holding on to a top-five spot but had advanced to fourth place by lap 139 and maintained that position until lap 166 when he took over the third place spot. Kimmel lost that spot to the No. 77 of Kligerman on lap 183 after the aggressive young driver dove under him going into turn one.
Still, the nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion turned in a solid performance, bringing home his fifth top-five finish of the season.
"We had a scare early in the race (with the bottoming out issue) but Bill and the boys got that taken care of on the first stop so, I'd say that overall the car handled really good all night," explained Kimmel following the race.
"Pit strategy came into play a little more than it usually does at Toledo with pit sequence really shaking up track position throughout the night so there was never really a clear cut dominant car but we were definitely in the mix and that's all you can hope for. The Lucky Dog deal plays a part here too because we have so many cautions, which keeps a lot of cars on the lead lap all night."
The Kimmel Racing crew will turn its attention to dirt as the team readies for Monday's Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.