Frank Kimmel likes Pocono chances as ARCA record loomsPress Release
Kimmel has the perspective of six consecutive top-10 finishes this season with his No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota fielded by ThorSport Racing, elite status as the series’ only two-time 2013 winner and the anticipation of the season’s first “intermediate” style racetrack, even though Pocono is 2.5 miles long.
So far this season, ARCA’s raced on two superspeedways and four short tracks. Kimmel’s won at the series’ longest oval racetrack, 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, and its shortest, the .375-mile Elko (Minn.) Speedway last weekend.
With those wins Kimmel totals 78 career victories. Tying Iggy Katona’s all-time ARCA victories record of 79 would be a bonus at Pocono because Kimmel’s more focused on this weekend alone, not the bigger picture of records and statistics — though with nine ARCA Series championships he’s got plenty of those.
“Records are nice, but winning at Pocono is our next goal, because that’s our next race,” Kimmel said. “I really think our intermediate program is going to be really good this year. Jeriod (Prince, crew chief) and the guys have worked really hard on that car.
“We’re not going to get to do the (Wednesday) open test but we’re going to be ready when we get there and I’m really looking forward to it. When you’re driving these kinds of racecars it makes it really fun to go to the racetrack.”
The veteran Kimmel is even enjoying the almost constant reminders of the proximity of Katona’s record, which the Michigan native established in 1974 at age 57 and Kimmel began chipping away at in 1994. However, Kimmel’s definitely able to keep it in the proper context.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was very aware of that record,” Kimmel said. “But the next race is Pocono. And we’re in a battle for this championship that I guarantee you, is going to go all year long. These kids I’m racing every week want to win this championship just as bad as I do.”
Kimmel’s perspective actually was flavored by the fact he’d just left Victory Lane at the diminutive Elko bull-ring, where he led a race-high 93 laps. But that didn’t cloud his judgment about what has to occur this weekend, when for the first time this season his ARCA crew won’t have to tend to the ThorSport Racing Toyota raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series by Todd Bodine, which is racing on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Several members of Kimmel’s over-the-wall crew will have to fly from Texas, where they’ll pit the trucks of Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter, to Pennsylvania, hopefully arriving just in time for the race.
“Our goal is to win the championship and in order to do that you’ve got to run up front every week,” Kimmel said from just outside Elko’s Victory Lane. “I think if our cars continue to run like this we should be in contention to win a lot of races this year. Whether we do or not, well, we’ll have to wait and see because the competition is tough everywhere we go.
“But Jeriod and Rich (Lushes, car chief) are going to bring some really good racecars to the track and I’ve just got to do my job. Our pit stops at Elko were a really big part of why we were able to win that race, and I think based on all that, that we’re going to be somebody they’re going to have to deal with each and every week.”
At Pocono, Kimmel has three wins since 1999, but a more impressive statistic is his 19 top-five finishes in his 40 races there since he scored his first top-five, in the first Pocono race of 1992.
“I think we’re going to be really good (at Pocono) and they’re definitely going to have to deal with us,” Kimmel said. “We’re running the same car we ran last year at Kansas in the season finale, and it ran really good there. I felt like that was our best superspeedway race of the year, as far as competitiveness.
“So for Pocono, it should be perfect because I’ve always liked that place and always seem to be able to do pretty well there, so I’m just looking forward to the next race.”
Kimmel will play poker with fans and other celebrities Thursday night at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in a charity tournament benefiting The NASCAR Foundation and the Armed Forces Foundation. For information or to find out how to enter call (570) 831-2100.
ARCA has one practice scheduled Friday, from 10-11:50 a.m. ET for the 33 entered cars. At 2:05 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will set the starting field. Kimmel has two Pocono poles to go with his trio of race wins.
On Saturday Kimmel will participate in a free autograph session outside Pocono’s main grandstand from 10-11 a.m. The season’s seventh race will get the green flag at about 1 p.m., with live TV coverage on the SPEED Channel, with live timing and scoring and audio coverage throughout the weekend on ARCARacing.com.
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ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:
ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured active NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. Thorsport, which has run full-season Truck Series schedules annually beginning in 1998, in 2013 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 SealMaster Toyota Tundra driven by Todd Bodine in the Truck Series and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry driven by Frank Kimmel in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Source: ThorSport Racing Press Release
Article Tags: ARCA Racing Series, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Frank Kimmel, No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota Camry, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Pocono ARCA 200, ThorSport Racing