(LONG POND, Pa.) – It’s hard to find a scenario in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour that 10-time series champ Frank Kimmel hasn’t come across over his quarter century ARCA career.
However, the all-time series winner (80 victories) finally found something Wednesday he had not yet done – that would be testing at Pocono Raceway.
“Actually, this is the first time we’ve ever tested at Pocono,” Kimmel said. “The only testing I ever got in there was just practice before the race.”
If he hasn’t tested at Pocono, he most certainly has a lot of practice in over the years on the “Tricky Triangle”. Kimmel, in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota, will be making his 43rd ARCA start at Pocono in Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200.
“It was a really good test. Coming off the trailer, it was decent, and we made some significant gains all day. Out last lap was our best lap…really, really happy with the car.”
Kimmel was fifth fastest overall (167.560 mph) in Wednesday's open test among 24 drivers who posted time and speed.
Kimmel has three wins at Pocono – in 1999, 2005 and 2006 among 21 top-five finishes overall, including finishes of second and third in last year’s races. Kimmel’s top-five runs at Pocono also include seven runner-up finishes.
Most of Kimmel’s success at Pocono came with his brother Bill Kimmel, who served as crew chief before Frank moved onto ThorSport Racing, and now Win-Tron Racing in 2014. Kimmel is currently working with NASCAR veteran crew chief Jamie Jones at Win-Tron.
“It was really good to be able to spend some time with Jamie yesterday…it was really the first time Jamie and I got to work together on the intermediate stuff. We’re pretty excited.”
Kimmel’s first start at Pocono was in 1992 when he finished fifth, a sign of good things to come.
“The track’s changed so much over the years; it’s not the same track that I raced on years ago. I don’t really see us having an advantage. Most everyone got a full day of testing in yesterday to make it a level playing field. These kids already have it pretty-well figured out.”
And like most any driver you talk to, Kimmel loves racing at Pocono.
“I think it’s got everything. It’s so different from anywhere else we go. All the turns are different yet it’s really fast. It gives you superspeedway speeds. All the straightaways are long, so you do a lot of passing down the straightaways, which, in turn, makes the corners so critical. You’ve got to get off the turns good to carry the right momentum to get down the long straightaways, and then beat him to the next corner. It’s an interesting place.”
Despite his limited time testing, Kimmel understands, arguably more than anyone, how to go fast at Pocono.
“To run well, you’ve got to have the complete package; you can’t lack in any category. The chassis has to be right, the aero, the horsepower…everything has to come together and work together. It takes all facets of what each team member brings to be successful there…to make it go better.”
On-track activity for the Pocono ARCA 200 includes one practice session on Friday, June 6 from 10:00-11:50 a.m., with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 2:30.
The Pocono ARCA 200 is live on FOX Sports 1 Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
In addition to live coverage on FOX 1, ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring of all the ARCA on-track activities.
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Photo Credit: ARCA