ARCA Racing Series
Kimmel seeks 10th series title
as he nears career end
ARCA returns to Sparta
after three-year absence
(September 2013) – If anything, Frank Kimmel has been consistent over the years. A nine-time ARCA champion, Kimmel has his sights set on making it a perfect 10 when the ARCA Series returns to Kentucky Speedway on Friday, Sept. 20, for the ARCA Racing “ZLOOP 150.”
• Distance: 100 laps, 150 miles (1.5-mile tri-oval)
• Race: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday.
• TV: Fox Sports 1
• Admission: $30-$40
• ARCA Drivers to Watch: Frank Kimmel, Mason Mingus, Justin Boston, Tom Hessert, Josh Williams
“I never thought I’d race full-time,” said Kimmel, 51. After high school, “I went to college and thought about teaching school.”
About the same time, his family started an auto parts business. The business did so well that Kimmel found the business too demanding to finish college so “I got into racing more.” In hindsight, “I’ve been very fortunate.”
Kimmel hails from Clarksville, Ind. His father, Bill Kimmel Sr. was a three-time ARCA RE/MAX Series winner. Kimmel made his first career start by racing street stock at age 15. He then moved to Late Models, winning three championships.
Kimmel ran his first ARCA race in 1990. He ran his first full season in 1992. He claimed the Rookie of the Year award and won his first race at Toledo Speedway in 1994.
Not only is Kimmel the only nine-time champion in the ARCA Racing Series, but he is also the only driver to win eight consecutive ARCA championships (2000-2007).
In 2006, Kimmel became the first ARCA Racing Series driver to be assigned a seat in the International Race of Champions Series. During that season, Kimmel placed seventh in points with a best finish of third place in the first race of the four-race IROC season.
In 2008, he and his brother, Bill Kimmel Jr., left Larry Clement’s Tri-State Motorsports and formed their own team, Kimmel Racing. They did so in an effort to create a legacy for their families, since each brother has sons involved in the racing industry.
Kimmel’s son, Frankie, has already won several championships at Salem Speedway.
Initially, Kimmel Racing ran a Dodge with the support of Cunningham Motorsports and sponsorship from Riverside Auto at Daytona before they joined forces with Ford Racing for the remainder of the 2008 season.
Kimmel’s career with ARCA remains unprecedented. The ARCA RE/MAX Series is a diverse series of races because of the variety of tracks and courses. Many other drivers, rookie and veteran, look at Kimmel as a role model.
He said the ARCA Series is highly competitive. “It changes a little with every race. With new people coming in it can be very competitive.”
Kimmel, who now resides in Borden, Ind., left the Kimmel Racing team after the 2011 ARCA Racing Series season. He ran the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for ThorSport Racing and also drove for them in the following 2012 season.
He entered the 2013 season with 345 consecutive ARCA Racing Series starts. In June 2013, Kimmel tied Iggy Katona’s record for most wins in the ARCA Racing Series. Kimmel won his 79th career victor at Winchester Speedway.
“I’d love to break that record if we’re fortunate to get another win,” said Kimmel. He also conceded that he might be “closing in on being done (racing) on a full time basis.”
The Pocono race that took place on Aug. 2 marked the final time the ARCA Racing Series will air on the network known as SPEED. Its parent company, FOX, renamed the network FOX Sports 1 on Aug. 17. ARCA’s debut on Fox Sports 1 is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7, at Iowa Speedway for the Prairie Meadows 150.
Since 2009, Kimmel has driven the No. 44 Ansell Gloves-Menards Home Improvement Toyota. Ansell Gloves is the world’s largest manufacturer of protective gloves and clothing and Menard’s operates 245 stores in 12 states. “They’re two great companies,” he said.
On Friday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m., Kimmel will compete in the ZLOOP 150 at the Kentucky Speedway. The ARCA Series has not raced in Sparta since July 18, 2009. This will be the series’ 20th appearance at the track.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been there,” he said about the Kentucky Speedway. “It’s a mile and a half track at Kentucky Speedway, and the track is rougher than others. There’s a lot of character out there.”
The way he handles his car on such a track is crucial. Kimmel credits his winning strategy to being consistent over the years. “We pride ourselves in this.”
Everyone who enters an ARCA race has a different agenda, said Kimmel. “Some want to win, some want to have a good run and others know they don’t have the equipment to win.” When entering a race, “we go to try to win every race.”
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