Kimmel, Schrader prepare for Toledo short-tracker TOLEDO, OH (4-21-06)--There's no place like home. And if that's true, then there's no place like Toledo Speedway for the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Born in Toledo in 1953, the renowned, national...
Kimmel, Schrader prepare for Toledo short-tracker
TOLEDO, OH (4-21-06)--There's no place like home. And if that's true, then there's no place like Toledo Speedway for the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
Born in Toledo in 1953, the renowned, national tour is preparing for its 59th appearance on its "hometown turf" when the Hantz Group 200 presented by Federated Car Care rolls off on Sunday, May 21 at 2pm.
And no one in the ARCA RE/MAX Series has mastered Toledo quite like Frank Kimmel. The Indianan's paw prints extend well past his Southern borders-up north to Toledo Speedway, where the Kimmel Nation is alive and well.
In fact, with nine career victories at Toledo Speedway, no one has more ARCA RE/MAX Series wins at the quick half mile than Kimmel.
"I absolutely love Toledo Speedway," said Kimmel from his race shop in New Albany, Indiana. "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, a participant in the 2006 International Race of Champions (IROC) Series, is hoping that 2006 will bring a record-shattering 10th Toledo victory to his plate. But in order to do so, he will need to battle a lengthy list of rookie and veteran entries.
From the veteran ranks, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competitor Ken Schrader is scheduled to compete. Schrader, who has three career ARCA RE/MAX Series wins at Toledo, captured last May's Hantz Group 200 over Kimmel, Jason Jarrett, David Ragan and TJ Bell.
"I'm just a big fan of the series...." Schrader said at a Toledo Speedway press conference in February. "...to compete on all the different tracks from the half-miles, like here at Toledo, to the mile-dirts in Springfield and DuQuoin, and all the way to Daytona and Talladega; I'm just a real fan of a series that runs all those different types of places."
But the ARCA RE/MAX Series has become more than just a place for seasoned veterans to refine their skills and take a break from the high-pressured lifestyle of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Increasingly, the series is used by young drivers looking to gain experience before starting professional auto racing careers at the highest levels of the sport.
In September, Kimmel clinched the Hantz Group 200 by just .032 seconds over one such developmental driver, David Ragan, in a climatic, under-the-lights finish that had race fans on their feet until the very last lap.
Ragan has since gone on to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for renowned NASCAR team owner Jack Roush.
Last May, a record 57 teams appeared at Toledo for the Hantz Group 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Toledo Speedway. And Kimmel, aiming for his 10th Toledo win, is hoping for another victory at one of his favorite short tracks:
"The Toledo track is like a second home to me," said Kimmel. "It's where I won my first ARCA race in '94. It'll always be special to me for that reason alone; but the wins there just seem to get better and better."
Tickets to both the May 21 and September 1 Hantz Group 200 events are available in advance by calling Toledo Speedway at (419) 727-1100.