Toledo: Kimmel Racing race report

Kimmel Racing Survives Wild Day at Toledo Late Race Incident Leaves Kimmel 13th while Menard Hangs on for Top-Five Finish Toledo, OH (May 17, 2009) - Frank Kimmel and Paul Menard helped put on an exciting show for a full house at Toledo ...

Kimmel Racing Survives Wild Day at Toledo
Late Race Incident Leaves Kimmel 13th while Menard Hangs on for Top-Five Finish

Toledo, OH (May 17, 2009) - Frank Kimmel and Paul Menard helped put on an exciting show for a full house at Toledo Speedway during today's Menards 200.

Menard rolled off at the tail end of the field after having Menards teammate Matt Crafton practice his car, while Frank Kimmel started in the fourth position. The Kimmel Racing team cars both showed strength early with Kimmel continuing to hold down the third place spot. Menard made a swift move up through the field and had gained more than ten positions by the time the first caution flag flew on lap 5.

When the field went back to green, Menard charged up to the top-15 within three laps, while Kimmel was in third on the heels of the two lead cars. On lap 32, Menard finally broke into the top-10, after gaining an impressive 22 positions since the drop of the green flag.

The action ignited on lap 33 when the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford got spun out by the No. 25 car and was then hit by the No. 11 car up in turn four. Despite the damage to the rear end of the car, Kimmel remained on the lead lap and made a quick stop on pit road to pull the fenders and fuel up. The field restarted on lap 38 with Menard in 10th place and Kimmel in 18th place.

On lap 42, Menard inadvertently turned the No. 60 car going into turn two but stayed in the gas and picked up a spot to sit ninth. Following the caution flag that ensued, Kimmel restarted the race back inside the top-15 while Menard battled with the lead pack of cars. Veteran Kimmel didn't waste any time battling back positions. By lap 62, Kimmel was back up to 12th place, while Menard fought his own battle for the eighth place spot which he finally earned on lap 67.

Most of the field pit on lap 76 when the caution flag flew, Kimmel elected to stay out while Menard pit for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Kimmel's strategy helped him gain several spots on track and the veteran driver restarted in third place. Menard restarted 10th.

Kimmel made quick work of the second place car stealing the position within half a lap of the restart. He then went to work on the No. 52 car of Ken Schrader battling for the lead. Kimmel was able to hold off the cars with fresher tires for more than 20 laps, including his teammate for the day Paul Menard.

At the halfway point of the race, both Kimmel Racing built cars were both inside the top-10 putting on a great show in the Menards 200. On lap 102, the action returned when Kimmel was turned by the No. 6 car. Kimmel managed to avoid a pile up and got the car back around and into the pits for right side tires.

The may lay allowed Menard to move up to the fourth position and gave the No. 98 team hope to battle for the win.

By lap 122, Menard was up to second place, while Frank Kimmel returned to the top-10 once again.

The never quit attitude of the Kimmel Racing crew helped their driver stay focused on rebounding to the front.

Nearing the end of the event, both Kimmel and Menard were inside the top-five. During the field's second attempt at a green, white, checkered finish, the No. 60 car driven by Patrick Sheltra tried to retaliate on Paul Menard for his earlier incident with the driver. While he waited for Menard to drive past him coming to the checkered, he turned into the No. 98 car causing a multi-car pile which sent Menard spinning past the start-finish line and left Kimmel turned around in turn four just shy of the checkered flag.

Ultimately, Kimmel was recorded in the 13th place, while Menard managed to hang on to the fourth place spot in the finishing order.

"I don't know what happened there at the end," said Kimmel. "I guess the 60 car was trying to get back at the 98 car and they ended up taking us out in the process. This was a top-five car that finished 13th so I guess I'm a little disappointed.

"The car just didn't want to turn right in the middle and that is an important part of running up front here at Toledo. You have to get through the center of the corner to have a shot at the win here but a 13th place finish isn't terrible, it's just not what we hoped for in the Menards 200."

Paul Menard viewed the race with the same mixed emotions.

"That was interesting," said Paul Menard after climbing out of the No. 98 Johns Manville Ford following his top-five finish. "I guess the 60 car was mad at me for what happened earlier so that kind of soured the end of the day. But still, this was a great opportunity to represent Menards and to get back to some great short track racing.

"I thought we had something for the win there in the end but our tires were older than a few of those guys and that definitely started to show in the last 30 laps or so. Still, it was a pretty good day considering I had never raced a lap at Toledo. I'd definitely jump at a chance to race here again. Frank Kimmel and his guys set up a great racecar for me so I just may have to ask them to do it again in the near future. Hopefully, next time I can keep the peace out on the race track."

The ARCA RE/MAX Series takes two weekends off before returning to action at Pocono Raceway in June.

-credit: km

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Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Schrader , Frank Kimmel , Matt Crafton , Paul Menard , Patrick Sheltra