Earns pole and leads most laps in Weis Markets 125
LONG POND, Penn (Aug. 2, 2010) - Frank Kimmel had what it took to make it to victory lane at Pocono Raceway Saturday afternoon - experience, confidence, a fast car and track position. What he didn't have was time. After leading the field to the green flag and commanding the first 20 laps of the Weis Markets 125, the handling on Kimmel's No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion went away. With only 50 laps total in the race, the Ansell/Menards team ran out of time to fix the car impeding Kimmel from making a bid to win his fourth race at the 2.5-mile triangle.
The Ansell/Menards Ford was fast all weekend. During Friday morning's lone practice session, Kimmel sat second on the speed chart with a lap time of 54.405 seconds (165.426 mph). Knowing he had a great chance to claim the pole, Kimmel picked up almost three-tenths of a second during qualifying later Friday afternoon. He circled the "tricky triangle" in 54.108 seconds (166.334 mph), easily fast enough to win the pole position for Saturday afternoon's Weis Markets 125.
When the green flag dropped on the stars of the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards, Kimmel easily took the lead in turn one, but it didn't take long for the first caution of the day to come out, as several cars wrecked coming to the green flag. When the field returned to green on lap four, he continued to hold the lead, pulling away from the field.
On lap nine, Kimmel radioed to his crew that the car was starting to get tight, but a fast car allowed him to continue to hold the lead. As he caught lapped traffic, his tight condition got worse, allowing Mikey Kile and Craig Goess, running second and third, to catch him. On lap 20, Mikey Kile slipped under the No. 44 Ford and took the lead as Kimmel radioed to his crew that his car was really tight in turns one and two from the exit out.
Kimmel continued to struggle with the handling of his car for the next 10 laps, falling to fourth position before a yellow flag for debris came out on lap 30. With the opportunity to hit pit road, crew chief Bill Kimmel Jr. called his driver down pit road to the attention of the Ansell/Menards crew, where major chassis adjustments were made along with adding four fresh Hoosier tires and filling the car with fuel.
Kimmel restarted in seventh and within one lap had already moved to fifth, before the third caution of the race came out on lap 36. With only 12 laps to go, the field went back to green, and Kimmel wasted no time passing the No. 32 for the fourth position.
Unfortunately, the tight condition came back, and by lap 41, a frustrated Kimmel radioed to his crew that his Ansell/Menards Ford was "too tight and pushing bad." Fighting the handling on the car, he dropped three positions over the final nine laps of the race. The Ansell/Menards Ford took the checkered flag in seventh place.
"It was a pretty disappointing finish for us today," said Kimmel. "I thought we had a car that could really contend for the win. It started out good, the car was really fast. At the end, the car just got really, really tight. We don't know what happened to it, but we will go home and look at it and figure out what we need to do to make it better."
Despite the seventh-place finish, Kimmel lead the most laps of the race and moved within 70 points of leader Justin Marks in the championship standings.
The ARCA Racing Series is set to return to action next weekend for Saturday night short-track action at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway. The 200-lap Berlin ARCA 200 begins at 8:30 p.m. EST, with live timing and scoring on ARCARacing.com and live audio coverage presented by the BAS Racing Network available on ARCARacing.com.