Frank Kimmel Seventh in 500th ARCA Racing Series Startby Kyle Pokrefky September 9, 2015 0 comments
DUQUOIN, Ill. — Frank Kimmel has accomplished many things in the ARCA Racing Series in his illustrious career with 10 championships, 80 race wins and 45 pole awards to his credit.
This past weekend at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, the winningest driver in series history joined a prestigious club by making his 500th start in the series.
The 100-lap Southern Illinois 100 didn’t end on the high note that Kimmel was looking for entering the event as the driver of the No. 25 Ansell/Menards Toyota for Venturini Motorsports came home with a seventh-place finish.
Kimmel was certainly a threat for the win as he spent 12 laps in the lead (his most since the season-opening race at Daytona) as well as keeping his car in the top-five for a majority of the day.
“We had a pretty damn good car all day,” Kimmel said. “It wasn’t exactly right, but it wasn’t bad. We were able to pass a lot of cars and get under people and pass them. That last set, I lost some forward drive and we were really struggling off of Turn 4 and everybody was struggling in Turn 1 and Turn 2. The track was just coming apart.”
A late caution that set up a green-white-checkered finish was what did in Kimmel’s hopes for the win, however, as the veteran was stuck in the outside lane for the restart. Throughout the day, the outside lane proved to be the weaker lane on restarts, dropping those who restarted on it back through the order time after time.
“We got up to second and the car was doing fine and then we got a caution at the end there and we had to start on the outside,” Kimmel continued. “I knew we were in trouble – I tried to get a really good restart and it just wasn’t good enough.
“I got stuck on the outside and lost a bunch of positions and I gained a couple back when a couple of cars spun at the very end going through 1 and 2 – it was that slick. Just one of those days.”
When reflecting on 500 starts in a series that is synonymous with his name, the Jeffersonville, In. native looks back on his career with pride and is thankful for the people he has worked with throughout the years that helped make him a 10-time champion.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” Kimmel stated. “I never honestly dreamed that I’d get to run one, then once I got to drive one I didn’t know if I’d ever get another one. Fortunately, we were able to get with some really good people of the years and have great sponsorship and great car owners. It gives you a lot of longevity.”
Up next in the ARCA Racing Series will be another special start for Kimmel as he heads into what is scheduled to be his final start of the year in the Federated Car Care Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway on Saturday, September 19th.
Kimmel will receive the chance to race alongside of his son, Frankie, at the half-mile oval in two weeks with a unique opportunity that puts both drivers in competitive cars for the same team.
Earlier this year, the younger Kimmel start-and-parked a third Venturini entry at Salem, but this time around will pilot the team’s No. 55 entry and will have a full go at the 200-lap race.
For Frank, the chance to race his son for a win is an exciting opportunity for the nine-time Salem winner.
“I’m really excited about that,” Frank said. “He’s going to have a great car – the Venturini cars always run great there, they run great everywhere. I think we have a great opportunity to be up front, the both of us.
“That’d be the coolest thing if you can race your son for a win somewhere. Hopefully, we’ll be there at the end and we’ll go get them.”
Photo Credit: ARCAracing.com