Frank Kimmel Makes Big Championship Gains in Madison

Frank Kimmel Makes Big Championship Gains in Madison

by August 25, 2014 0 comments

Photo credit: Kyle Pokrefky/The Fourth Turn

MADISON, Wisc. — Madison International Speedway delivered Frank Kimmel quite the gift as the 10-time ARCA Racing Series champion was able to gain ground on championship leaders Mason Mitchell and Grant Enfinger with a solid fourth-place finish in the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200.

The driver of the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota for Win-Tron Racing entered Madison 280 points behind points leader Mitchell with his hopes of contending for his 11th series championship seemingly beginning to fade.

With late-race calamities taking Mitchell and Enfinger out of the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200, Kimmel slid forward in the race standings to fourth – his final finishing position of the day.

Kimmel’s seventh top-five finish of the season unofficially halved his points deficit to Mitchell to 140 points entering next Monday’s Southern Illinois 100.

Following the completion of the 200-lap race in Madison, Kimmel beamed with optimism and stated that he feels that his Win-Tron Racing team is getting closer and closer to not just claiming the points lead, but to breaking through and earning their first win of the season as well.

“The thing I’m really happy about is that we’re close to it,” Kimmel said.” “We’re getting closer – even on the long run, even though we got a lap down there. Grant’s just got something really good for the long run, and he’s just extremely fast. I think everybody’s got a little catching up to do to him yet, but I thought for the most part to the other guys we were pretty close.

“That’s what we’ve got to do, we’ve just got to keep improving on our cars and getting better for me. As I told the guys, I’m not real good here. This track, I’m not as good as I should be, as far as driving the car – I’ve never felt like I’ve come out of here doing the right thing. We’ll keep working on it and we’ll get better.”

Kimmel has a prime opportunity to shrink the points gap to first-place even further this upcoming weekend as the ARCA Racing Series heads to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds for the second dirt race of the season. While Kimmel is admittedly not a great dirt racer, five of his eighty career series wins have come at the mile-long dirt course in southern Illinois with his most recent win at the track coming in 2008.

Win-Tron will bring their Madison car home, clean it up, and then ship it back out to DuQuoin next week for the 100-miler. Should the weather hold up for Labor Day’s race and the track remains dry throughout race day – unlike Springfield – Kimmel just may break through and earn his first win of the 2014 season.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. Our car is the same car that we ran here – we’ll run it again. Our Springfield race was pretty good. Springfield was so wet that it stayed pretty much a dirt track for the whole day and I’m not a great dirt racer so I need for it to get down and get black and slick and then I’ll run pretty good. I’m sure DuQuoin will get that way and I’m looking forward to it. I think that from what we’ve learned at Springfield, we’ll get better.”

The weather proved to be a factor in Madison on Sunday with the local weather proving to not just be dry, but hot as well. With humidity levels still up after rain showers from the previous day, the ambient temperatures soared well into the 90s. Following the race in grueling temperatures, Kimmel climbed out of his race car and sat along the outside of the pit wall before getting a lift back to the garage.

Rest assured, Kimmel is okay, he just took a seat in the shade as a precautionary measure.

“Yeah, I was fine,” he explained. “I was just really overheated and I knew if I got up and walked around I’d get lightheaded because I thought I was dehydrated pretty good. So I’ve kind of been through it and know what to do, so I just took my time and [I was] smart about it. I’m fine.”

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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