Kimmel Aims For Talladega Repeat
TOLEDO, Ohio – Defending Talladega Superspeedway winner Frank Kimmel is ready to win again.
Kimmel, the all-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards winner with 80 victories, the 10-time series champion does a lot of defending. He’ll try to do it once more during the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 on May 3 at the historic 2.66-mile track.
Kimmel, the driver of the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota, will make his 21st start at Talladega since 1992.
“It’s probably as challenging to win at Talladega as anywhere, and probably more so,” said Kimmel, who won the rain-shortened race last year.
“It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. The racetrack is not an issue at all. Just hold it to the floor and steer. It’s so big, so fast and so smooth. There are no issues at all with the track.
“The whole deal at Talladega is learning how to put yourself in a position to win. It’s our biggest chess match of the season. You work the whole race to get in a position for that moment to take a shot at the win. It helps to be up front so you can draft with the best cars and keep yourself out of trouble as best as you can. Come the end of the race, you just hope you’re where you need to be.”
Kimmel has won twice at Talladega. Both races were cut short – one for darkness, and the other for rain.
The veteran driver finished second in the season opener at Daytona. He’ll race the same car at Talladega. However, he wasn’t satisfied with his speed in the open test at Talladega last week.
“I was a little disappointed in the overall speed, much like Daytona,” he said. “But they went home and continued to work on it. The car’s good in the draft, but it’d be nice if we could do some on your own, too.
“This is by far the coolest racetrack that we compete on. We love the people here. The employees at Talladega are second to none and treat you like family, and the fans are the same. Nowhere we go do we hear so much passion for racing. If you want passing, get ready.”
ARCA officials will also introduce a new qualifying procedure where teams will qualify together for added excitement. Instead of one car going against the clock, the cars will be placed into groups based on their speeds from Friday morning’s practice session. The fastest lap during qualifying determines each car’s starting position in the race.
“I’m actually really excited about that,” Kimmel said. “It’s definitely going to be part of the bigger show. It really changes things too. The group you run with (in qualifying) is going to be based on the practice speeds, so now practice becomes really important. It’s definitely going to be interesting.”