(LONG POND, Pa. - June 11, 2012) - For the fifth consecutive week, Frank Kimmel and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota team secured a top 10 finish, with a sixth-place finish at Pocono Raceway.
Competing over the course of 80 laps on a newly resurfaced racetrack proposed many additional variables for teams to manage, most notably, tire wear. After running in the top five for most of the event, Kimmel's strong run towards the front was foiled by a flat tire, but recovered for his fifth top-ten finish of 2012.
After qualifying fifth, his second best qualifying effort thus far in 2012, Kimmel began the 200 mile affair solidly in the top five throughout the first ten laps of the event. At lap 15, ARCA officials gave the teams an opportunity to check tire wear on the brand new asphalt with a competition caution period. The Ansell/Menards team made air pressure adjustments to address Kimmel's tight condition on corner exit and restarted 7th.
On the ensuing restart, a multi-car accident deep in the field in turn 1 brought out the event's second yellow. The caution period slowed the race for 11 laps and restarted on lap 33. Kimmel advanced back into the top five by lap 34, and was running fourth when bad luck stuck just past the halfway mark. Kimmel radioed his crew about a bad vibration and brought the Thorsport Racing Toyota down pit road with a flat left front tire.
Kimmel rejoined the action a lap down and found himself racing for the Lucky Dog position, vying to work his way back on the lead lap. A caution at lap 59 gave the Ansell/Menards driver the break he needed and allowed Kimmel to take advantage of the Lucky Dog award and gain a lap back. After pitting under the yellow for four tires and chassis adjustment, Kimmel restarted 13th with 17 laps to go on the lead lap.
Just four laps after the restart, Kimmel worked his way up to 6th and was poised to crack into the top five. Closing in on the checkered flag, Kimmel reported another vibration which threatened his position in the top ten. Kimmel was forced to conservatively guide his Toyota to the checkered flag in 6th, due to excessive right rear tire wear. The finish was Kimmel's fifth top-ten finish of the season, all of which have occurred in successive races. Kimmel remains fourth in ARCA Racing Series points, 45 points behind series leader, and Pocono race winner, Brennan Poole.
"I thought we had a top five car much of the day", Kimmel said. "Even though we had a flat tire, some consider that bad luck, we probably had a good luck day by getting the Lucky Dog, getting back in line, and getting back to sixth. I think the mark of a good team is, through adversity, you run on and do the best you can. We could have run third or fourth, but came home sixth and salvaged a good day that could have been much worse."
Date: June 9th, 2012
Track: Pocono Raceway
Race: 7 of 20
Driver Championship Points Standings: 4th
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE:
Michigan International Speedway is the next stop for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Friday, June 15th. The RainEater Wiper Blades 200 at MIS will be the second straight race on brand new asphalt. After being repaved after last August's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, the track is expected to feature the highest speeds on the ARCA circuit. The race will begin at 5:15 pmET, with live coverage on SPEED at 5 pmET. ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring from the two mile oval, beginning with practice on Thursday, June 14th.
2012 is the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards' 60th Anniversary Season, featuring 20 races at 18 tracks. The complete 2012 event schedule is available at ARCARacing.com.