Leads 92 laps en route to a fifth-place finish
MARNE, Mich. (Aug. 9, 2010) - Frank Kimmel proved what makes him a nine-time ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards champion Saturday night at Berlin Raceway. After leading 92 of the first 110 laps, Kimmel had to overcome a slow pit stop and a late-race spin to earn his fifth top-five finish of the season. Kimmel racked up the bonus points in the Berlin ARCA 200, earning the Messina Halfway Leader award as well as the Aaron's Lap Leader bonus and moving within 10 markers of points leader Craig Goess in the 2010 championship standings.
When it comes to short-track racing there is nobody better than Frank Kimmel, so it comes as no surprise that the Ansell/Menards team had their sights set on victory at the 0.4375-mile oval. They proved this during Saturday afternoon's only practice session, where there was no team that worked harder than Kimmel's Ansell/Menards team. Making several changes during the two-hour session, Kimmel posted the seventh-fastest lap, pacing the short track in 17.674 seconds (101.845 mph).
"Today, we tried a whole lot of different things," explained Kimmel. "We used the last two days as almost a complete test session for our car. We changed a lot of springs and a lot of shocks just trying to get the car where I am comfortable with it. I don't know that you will ever be comfortable here at Berlin. We ended up seventh in the practice session. We are not real satisfied with that, but that's probably about as good as we were. We'll see how it qualifies and race them real hard all night tonight."
Qualifying began only a short-time after practice ended, and as the 28th car to make a qualifying attempt around Berlin Raceway, Kimmel knew exactly what he needed to do to start near the front. Kimmel posted a lap of 17.353 seconds (103.728 mph) around the tight half-mile track, which was good enough for a sixth-place starting position.
As the field took the green flag for 200 laps of racing under the lights at Berlin Raceway, Kimmel didn't take long to climb out of his sixth-place starting position. By the end of lap one, he had his Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion in third place. On lap two, Kimmel drove under Joey Coulter's No. 16 to take second place. For the next 15 laps, Kimmel chased down leader Dakoda Armstrong, before driving under him to take the lead on lap 17.
After taking the lead, Kimmel separated his No. 44 Ford Fusion from the rest of the field, pulling to a straightaway lead over the second-place car. Only a caution on lap 54 allowed the field to catch Kimmel's Ansell/Menards Ford.
The field restarted on lap 59, as Kimmel continued to hold the lead over a hard-charging Brian Campbell and Patrick Sheltra. For over 50 laps, the top-three cars put on a great show, as Campbell and Sheltra continually tried to pass the nine-time champion for the lead. Battling lapped traffic kept the top-three nose to tail as Kimmel continued to hold on to the first position.
On lap 108, Patrick Sheltra was finally able to slip his car under Kimmel's Ford to take the lead with Brian Campbell following to take second. Running third, Kimmel continued to stalk Sheltra and Campbell as they made their way through lapped traffic.
The second caution of the night came out on lap 145, allowing the Ansell/Menards team and the rest of the leaders to make their first pit with only 55 laps remaining in the race. As the field came down Berlin's tricky pit road, the Ansell/Menards team went to work on their Ford Fusion, changing four tires and adding fuel. Unfortunately, some trouble on the stop put Kimmel back out in eighth place.
The field went back to racing on lap 158, and Kimmel went to work trying to climb back to the front. It took only two laps for him to take the sixth position, but lapped traffic made it very difficult to pass on the 0.4375-mile track. In a three-way battle for fifth place, the 24 made contact with Kimmel's bumper, sending him spinning on lap 168. The spin brought out the third yellow of the night and dropped Kimmel to the last car on the lead lap.
Crew Chief Bill Kimmel Jr. called his No. 44 to pit road during the caution period on lap 70 to change two tires and check the car for damage. The Ansell/Menards team sent their Ford back to the track for the final 28 laps of the race, looking to get back to the front.
Kimmel took the green flag for the restart on lap 172 from the 10th position but was not ready to give up, gaining two positions by the time the field came around to mark lap 173. Unfortunately, another yellow flag came out on lap 175, slowing the field and Kimmel's progress for the fourth time. During the caution, Kimmel radioed to his crew that his Ansell/Menards Ford was really tight with two tires.
The field went back to green for a final 21-lap shoot-out on lap 179. Kimmel continued his climb taking the seventh position on lap 181. He moved into sixth on lap 189 and slipped around the 22 car to take fifth on lap 196. Kimmel ran out of time as the checkered flag waved on lap 200, earning a fifth-place finish in the Berlin ARCA 200.
"All in all, it was a great points night but a very disappointing race for us," said Kimmel. "The car was really fast at the beginning and pretty much stayed fast the whole night. We just got back too far in traffic, and I couldn't make my way back up through there fast enough. Congratulations to Joey (Coulter) and his entire team. They ran a great race. They have been close a lot, but it was very disappointing for us. I felt like we could win tonight."
Joey Coulter took the win, earning his first-career ARCA Racing Series victory. Patrick Sheltra finished second with Steve Arpin and Tom Hessert earning third and fourth-place finishes.
The ARCA Racing Series heads to the road course at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday, August 15 for the Garden State ARCA 150 presented by American Red Cross. The 67-lap, 150-mile event begins at 1:00 p.m. EST with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by ARCA Nation at ARCARacing.com.
About Frank Kimmel
Frank Kimmel, driver in the ARCA Racing Series Presented by RE/MAX and Menards, is a record holding 9-time champion. Co-owner of Kimmel Racing, the Indiana native has earned 74 wins, placing him just six races shy of the number one spot on ARCA's all-time win list. With 44 poles, 230 top-five and 294 top-ten finishes, the racing veteran has accomplished many great feats in his 18 seasons in the series. Kimmel and the Ansell/Menards Ford team look to continue to break records in the 2010 season.
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