(WINCHESTER, Ind. - June 25, 2012) - No other driver had matched Frank Kimmel's career performance at Winchester coming into this weekend's Herr's Chase the Taste 200.
Despite his incredible track record, Kimmel's streak of six consecutive top ten finishes in 2012 came to an end at one of his most productive venues. Kimmel had a strong car showing speed to run in the top three, but his strong run was derailed after a melted bead caused the right front tire to go flat. The Ansell/Menards Toyota team lost two laps and settled for an 11th place finish.
Kimmel paced both practice sessions on Saturday afternoon with a car that was poised to be in contention for the race win. A disappointing qualifying effort put Kimmel in the 9th starting position, but flexed his muscle in the early stages. Through the opening green flag runs, Kimmel advanced positions on the narrow, high banked half mile, using his experience to his advantage. By lap 18, Kimmel had cracked the top 5 and raced with the leaders for much of the first 50 laps.
The first caution flew at lap 43 while Kimmel ran in 5th. Under the caution, he reported a tight condition in the center of the corners, and loose under braking. On the lap 50 restart, Kimmel pounced on the competition and moved up to 4th, where he ran until misfortune struck. A melted bead on the right front tire caused the tire to go down, and forced the five time Winchester winner to pit road under green on lap 78.
Kimmel rejoined the action two laps down and fighting to get a lap back in order to race for the Lucky Dog. During the caution on lap 93, crew chief, Jeriod Prince, made a track bar adjustment to help the handling on the #44 Toyota. On the ensuing restart, Kimmel reported a possible suspension issue as a result of the flat tire. Regardless, Kimmel earned one lap back the hard way, racing around the race leaders and vaulting himself into the Lucky Dog position after a restart on lap 154. However, the caution flag Kimmel and the Thorsport team needed did not come and settled for an 11th place finish.
The finish was Kimmel's first outside the top ten since Mobile Int'l Speedway in March. It also marks the first time since 2001 that Kimmel has finished outside the top 10 at Winchester Speedway.
"I think we had a car to run in the top three without a doubt. We showed that speed all day. That last run of the day, we kept the same set of tires on, and ran about 110 laps on them. After we had a flat, we had a suspension issue too. It's a shame we didn't get a couple cautions when we needed them, because we still would have been in good shape. We'll go road course racing next week, give the best effort we can, and see what we can accomplish."
Date: June 24th, 2012
Track: Winchester Speedway
Race: 9 of 20
Driver Championship Points Standings: 4th
NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE:
New Jersey Motorsports Park is the next stop for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Sunday, July 1st. The All American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation will mark the first and only road course event of 2012. The 150 mile event will go green at 1:00 pmET on Sunday, with live timing and scoring on ARCARacing.com. Timing and scoring will also be available from the road course on Saturday, June 30th during practice sessions at 11:50 amET and 1:40 pmET.
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.