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May 08, 2013 - 05:00 PM
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ARCA Point Leader Frank Kimmel Testing at Toledo Speedway Thursday
Posted by: newsla on May 08, 2013 - 04:55 PM
ARCA Point Leader Frank Kimmel Testing at Toledo Speedway Thursday; Joins Venturini Motorsports, Win Tron Racing, Kimmel Racing

Despite a near non-existent test schedule, nine-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion Frank Kimmel is leading the championship standings by 30 points over SCOTTĀ® Challenge Rookie of the Year contender Mason Mingus.


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That doesn't mean he's breathing any easier. And with three other ARCA teams coming to test Thursday (May 9) at Toledo Speedway, the Kimmel crew lobbied the boss for a test session of their own at the renowned, northwest Ohio short track in preparation for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care coming May 18-19.

Apparently, the plea worked. Kimmel, and the ThorSport Racing team he drives for, are headed to Toledo to test tomorrow.

"We've been trying to plan one (a short track test session) all year," Kimmel said as he was driving through Dayton, Ohio en route to the Sandusky, Ohio-based ThorSport shop.

"We weren't as good as we needed to be at Mobile. Salem we were pretty good but we still need to get the cars to turn a little better in the corners, and we're not lasting as long on longer runs as some of the other guys.

"Toledo's only an hour away (from Sandusky). The equipment is all in good shape, so this opportunity to test made the most sense."

Kimmel also knows that his closest challengers - second in points Mingus and Salem Speedway winner Tom Hessert are testing pretty-much everywhere.

"As good as these kids are running, the days of going off your notebook just doesn't work," added Kimmel, who turned 51 on April 30. "These other teams are testing everywhere, and we just can't let them get too far ahead. They're all such good racers; we're going to have to work hard to stay with 'em."

Kimmel also understands the car owner side of things, having struggled as one for three years before he united with ThorSport and his title sponsors Ansell and Menards.

"Testing is very expensive. It costs as much to test as it does to go race, so you really have to plan properly so you're not just spinning your wheels and burning up tires.

"But we're a little behind on our short track cars; we're not quite where we need to be. It's not turning as good as it needs to, so if we're going to beat these guys this year, we've got to get better on the short tracks."

Kimmel would be wise to improve his performances on the short tracks. Of the 21 races overall on the 2013 schedule, there are 11 on short tracks, including the Akona 250 presented by Federated Car Care at the tiny third-mile Elko (Minn.) Speedway, which follows on the heels of Toledo June 1.

Kimmel also lost a heart breaker at Salem two weeks ago when he gave up the lead at his hometown track less than 10 laps from the checkered flag.

However, he certainly redeemed himself last Friday, winning at Talladega Superspeedway, his 77th career victory.

Kimmel is the all-time winner at Toledo with nine wins, including his career-first series victory in 1994.

Other ARCA Teams Testing Thursday at Toledo Speedway

Venturini Motorsports Testing 15-year-old Kyle Benjamin
Three ARCA Racing Series teams are scheduled to test Thursday. Venturini Motorsports is bringing 15-year-old prodigy Kyle Benjamin. Benjamin became the youngest driver in ARCA history to start an ARCA race at Mobile Int'l Speedway back in early March; and oh by the way, the Easley, South Carolina high school freshman finished second in the race. Benjamin is also the youngest ARCA CRA Super Series winner in history after winning at Lucas Oil Raceway last year at the age of 14. He also won four straight late model races at New Smyrna Speedway (Fla.) during Speedweeks, 2013. If Benjamin were to win at Toledo, he would officially become the youngest ARCA Racing Series winner in history, surpassing the mark set by the current youngest winner James Buescher, who won an ARCA race at 16, two days shy of his 17th birthday.

Win Tron Racing Testing Mason Mingus
SCOTTĀ® Challenge Rookie of the Year contender Mason Mingus (Brentwood, Tenn.) is also scheduled to test alongside Venturini Motorsports. Mingus, currently second in championship points, just 30 points away from veteran Frank Kimmel, has been in the headlines a lot lately, having not yet finished out of the top-10 in the first four events of the season. Furthermore, Mingus is coming off a career-best second place finish at Talladega Superspeedway last Friday. The 2009 ARCA Cometic championship crew chief Mark Rette calls the shots for Mingus.

Kimmel Racing Testing Two
Kimmel Racing, coming with two rookie drivers on Thursday, will share the track with Venturini and Win Tron. Korbin Forrister (Cedartown, Ga.), who finished a career-best 13th at Talladega in a Cunningham Motorsports car last Friday, is scheduled to test for Kimmel Racing, as is newcomer and 15-year-old Michael Lira (Port Orange, Fla.), scheduled to make his series debut in the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care. Eight-time Cometic championship crew chief Bill Kimmel (brother of Frank Kimmel) calls the shots at Kimmel Racing.

Discount Tickets on Sale Now for Menards 200
Tickets are on sale now for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway. Tickets are $15, compared to $25 on race day, and will be available starting Friday at Menards stores in Toledo, Defiance, Holland, Oregon, Sandusky and Findlay.

The weekend's activities include ARCA Racing Series practice and qualifying plus the ARCA Truck Series Grogan's Towne 50-lap race on Saturday, May 18. The Menards 200 is Sunday, with an autograph session at noon and the race at 2 p.m.

The Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care is live on SPEED.

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