(NEWTON, Iowa - July 12, 2010) - On a day full of big surprises, special guests and hard racing, Kimmel drove his No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion to a sixth-place finish in the Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway Saturday night. Making his 400th-career ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards start, Kimmel had a strong-showing all night. The finish moved him up one position in the championship standings and closed the gap to only 120 markers behind new leader, Justin Marks.
Saturday was a full day of action as the ARCA Racing Series crammed in two practice sessions, qualifying and the Prairie Meadows 200. Kimmel was 12th on the speed chart after the morning practice session before setting the second-fastest time in the final session, recording a lap of 23.975 seconds (131.387 mph).
With a fast car, Kimmel had high hopes for qualifying but came up short after a loose condition caused his No. 44 Ford to get completely sideways in turn two. With a miraculous save, Kimmel was able to post the 16th-fastest time of 124.227 seconds (130.020 mph), lining up on the outside of row eight for the start of the Prairie Meadows 200.
For his momentous start, Kimmel reunited with long-time, champion car owner Larry Clement who stood atop the spotters stand. Kimmel and Clement won nine championships together before Kimmel left to start his own team, Kimmel Racing, with brother and crew-chief Bill Kimmel, Jr.
More surprises were in order for the nine-time champion as pre-race festivities began. Celebrating his 400th start, Kimmel's family delivered a special command that allowed him to start his engine before the rest of the ARCA Racing Series field.
Taking the green from the 16th position, Kimmel kept his car in the top-15 for the first green-flag run, radioing to the crew that his car was "too loose off." When the caution came out on lap 39, the Ansell/Menards crew took the opportunity to call their driver to pit road for fuel and a track bar adjustment and sent him back to the track in 15th place.
The field returned to racing on lap 45, and Kimmel began a tear through the field, running lap times as fast as the leaders. During the next 44-lap run, Kimmel climbed 10 spots, bringing his Ansell/Menards Ford into the fifth position.
The field slowed again on lap 87, and Kimmel called to his team that he needed "forward bite off." Crew Chief, Bill Kimmel, Jr. called to drop air pressure in both rear tires to fix the condition. The No. 44 team serviced their Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion under the yellow, changing four tires and adding fuel before sending Kimmel back to the track in the seventh position.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 97, and Kimmel quickly dropped back three positions claiming the car was very loose on the start. A long green-flag run enabled the nine-time champion to show the power of his Ansell/Menards Ford as he methodically picked his way back up to fourth while running lap times as fast as the leaders.
Unfortunately a yellow-flag slowed Kimmel's progress as he was reeling in third-place driver, teammate Matt Crafton. Kimmel's team took advantage of the yellow, bringing him in for his final pit stop of the day. The Ansell/Menards crew had a great pit stop, changing four tires and dropping the track bar down one round before sending their driver back to the track in fifth place.
The green flag came out on lap 158 for the final 42-lap run, and Kimmel quickly proved he would be a competitor, wasting no time passing teammate Matt Crafton's Menards Ford for fourth position. As the laps counted down, Kimmel began reeling in the second and third place cars before his Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion got extremely tight on lap 175.
Kimmel did all he could to hold on to the Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion and was able to cross the finish line with a sixth-place finish.
"The Ansell/Menards Ford Fusion was really fast," explained Kimmel. "The car just got tight during that last run. I have to thank my team; we had a fast car and great pit stops all night. It was a great points day for us, so we'll take it and get ready for Mansfield next weekend."
Short-track racing action returns next week as the ARCA Racing Series stars will head to Mansfield Motorsports Park for the Tim Richmond Memorial 200. The Tim Richmond Memorial 200 will be broadcast LIVE on the BAS Racing Network as well as ARCARacing.com.
Public Relations Account Manager