Racing keeps Frankie Kimmel busy. Between his video analytics business and his work for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series, Kimmel spends a lot of time around the sport.
This weekend, Kimmel will be at the track in another role – driver. Kimmel will compete in Sunday’s New Year’s BASH at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC), a Street Stock event which draws competitors from around the country for a $2,500 winner’s payday.
The Street Stock is a bit of a side project for Kimmel, but one he still gets to run with some frequency. The last time he put on the firesuit was at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) last November for a Mid-Atlantic Street Stock (MASS) Championship Series event in conjunction with the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown.
It didn’t go quite the way Kimmel hoped.
“Last time was Hickory, around the PASS race two months ago,” Kimmel said. “We ran this car with the MASS series there, right until we bent the rear clip when we spun.”
The Street Stock project has been a test of patience for Kimmel and his father, 10-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel. The father-son pairing wanted to try a different approach with this car and are still working to achieve its full potential.
“We actually ran this race two years ago when we first built the car. We struggled. We struggled then and until the end of last year when we ran Myrtle Beach, we’ve struggled with the car the entire time,” he admitted. “It’s a different chassis, we had never built one before. My dad wanted a challenge, he thought it would be a better car if we ever figured it out. We are still working on that part. Two years later, we’re still working on it.”
However, Kimmel has found some success at Dillon, scoring a podium finish in the 75-lap Independence BASH there last July. Kimmel admits to not having the deceptive venue completely figured out, despite many trips there with his Dartfish video analysis company, VK Sports Analysis.
“I do the Dartfish and I watch it, and it looks like a normal track, little less than a half-mile track, but it doesn’t race like that,” Kimmel said. “The turns aren’t the same. The last time we raced there in the middle of the summer, we ran third. We ran good, we were a third-place car.
“I have not figured out three and four yet,” Kimmel added. “We’re really good in one and two. Three and four is goofy. That’s really the only way to describe it. I’ve tried about every different line there, I don’t know that I’ve ever run the same one, and I still haven’t figured it out.”
Still, Kimmel is excited to make the trip to the New Year’s BASH, an event growing in stature among Street Stock events in the nation. This year, for the first time ever, the 109-lap Street Stock race will be recorded for a national television broadcast on MAVTV. The tape-delayed broadcast will air February 13. In addition to the MAVTV broadcast, race fans will be able to watch a live video stream of the event as a premium member of the Speed51 Network by purchasing a monthly or yearly subscription.
“It’s a great race track,” Kimmel said. “Ron Barfield does a great job. Obviously, with being on MAVTV and having Speed51 covering it, that shows he’s growing it into one of the biggest Street Stock races of the year, which is really cool.”
Kimmel hopes to make it the end of the marathon Street Stock feature, an improvement on his last appearance in the New Year’s BASH.
“It’s 109 laps this year because it’s the ninth race. We’d like to run them all” said Kimmel. “Last time ran it we battled motor trouble all day. With a restart with 10 to go the motor shut off and we fell back. Finishing inside the top five would be great and run every lap. We don’t carry a ton of expectations because we haven’t quite figured this thing out yet.”
Kimmel hopes he and his dad can figure the car out more during Saturday’s practice session, postponed one day by a poor weather forecast. The postponement could be a blessing or a curse if you ask him.
“It gives us time to dial the car right out of the race track,” Kimmel said with a laugh. “Honestly, of course, dad works full-time for Venturini Motorsports and I work almost every day there, too. They’re getting ready for the Daytona test, so it really helped us a lot. He was going to probably make the practice but would have been getting there late.
“He does most of the setting up and comes up with the ideas on it,” Kimmel continued. “It definitely helps us that he’ll be able to go down Saturday morning with us and get it through tech and everything. Once we get on the race track, he’ll be there and we won’t be using the phone to diagnose what we’re fighting. Honestly, as much as it was probably a pain to everybody, it was great to us.
“The fact that we won’t be qualifying on Sunday, the day won’t go too long, we’ll be able to get back home,” Kimmel added. “We’ve got guys coming from Indiana that are coming to help, they just want to come watch the race and help out. That way, it’ll be over for them and they won’t have to drive through the night.”
Feature racing will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday with the Street Stock B-Main, and fans unable to make the trip to Dillon can watch live on the Speed51 Video Network with a premium membership. Becoming a premium member of Speed51.com is easy. All you have to do is click here. You can become a member for $9.99 per month, or you can sign up for a yearly membership for just $79.99. Yearly members will also receive 10-percent off their purchases off future pay-per-view events available throughout 2019.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor –Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Frankie Kimmel