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May 19, 2013 - 07:06 AM
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Kimmel Starts 4th In Sunday's Menards 200 At Toledo
Posted by: newsla on May 19, 2013 - 07:02 AM
Kimmel Starts 4th In Sunday's Menards 200 At Toledo

Frank Kimmel achieved his first goal this weekend, Saturday in Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at Toledo Speedway, when he clocked a top-five starting position for Sunday's Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.


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Kimmel, the record nine-time Toledo ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race winner, who also has two career poles on the moderately-banked short track, logged the fourth-best time in qualifying, 16.10 seconds at an average speed of 1111.801 mph.

He'll start on the outside of the second row behind pole winner Kyle Benjamin, the 15-year-old phenom who out-ran NASCAR veteran and owner/driver Ken Schrader by .21 seconds. Mason Mingus, who came to Toledo 30 points behind Kimmel in the ARCA standings, picked up five points by qualifying third.

Kimmel went on-track as the 31st of 32 drivers to qualify, and said he thought his first lap was "around a 16.5-second" effort. In fact, Kimmel's first lap was a 16.15 and he picked up another .05 seconds on his second lap, which equaled a .28-second improvement over his best practice lap, 16.38 seconds on Saturday morning.

"When the cars drive better in qualifying, they feel slow," Kimmel said, grinning at the recollection. "When Jeriod told me I'd run a .15 on my first lap I was shocked. I felt like I was right on the edge of where I could run it, but I also felt like there was a little bit more left out there."

Kimmel, crew chief Jeriod Prince and their ThorSport Racing team reaped the benefits of the more than 150 laps they logged last week in a test session. Kimmel got on the racetrack Saturday 15 minutes into the first 45-minute practice session and his first lap was 26th on the time sheet, his sixth lap was sixth and his 15th lap right at the top, where he ended up.

In the 45-minute final practice early in the afternoon, Kimmel stayed on the same set of used tires and concentrated on race runs, while most of his competition made sticker-tire mock qualifying runs. On account of that strategy, Kimmel ended up 10th on the final practice sheet.

But he was most pleased with his overall package and qualifying supported that.

"Starting in the top five is where you want to be, because you just put yourself in harm's way when you qualify bad," said Kimmel, who turned in his best short-track qualifying effort since joining ThorSport at the beginning of 2012. "We've done that to these guys just about every race, it seems like, on the short-tracks -- starting 10th and 12th and 15th -- and you wear your stuff out getting up into the top five

"We seem to get there every race, but eventually that's gonna bite you, so you need to start, up where trouble's not so bad."

Kimmel's most enthused that he won't have to use up his equipment getting to the front of the field.

"When I was winning 10 or 12 poles a year, I liked the points deal," Kimmel said. "It's the way the rules are, so we've got to get ourselves better at qualifying. I beat myself up on it but Jeriod and Rich (Lushes, car chief) make great calls and make the car better to drive in qualifying, and that's what it's got to do."

Kimmel just laughed when he was asked when he wanted to go and test at Elko Speedway in Minnesota, the site of the next ARCA Series race, on June 1.

"I know you're kidding," Kimmel said. "But actually I think what we learned (Saturday) is something we can apply up there. As we go along and improve our cars and set-ups, it's just another chapter in the same book. Even though these set-ups are all different, they're very much the same at all the tracks.

"And we've improved the car by what I would call a pretty substantial margin (Saturday) -- even more than we did through our whole test -- by making a few changes that really helped the car. Testing gave us a good starting point and, even though there's gonna be a bunch of fast cars (Sunday) they're gonna have to deal with us, too."

ARCA has a fan autograph session scheduled from 12-1 p.m. ET on Toledo Speedway's frontstretch, prior to driver introductions at 1:30. The Menards 200 is set for the green flag at about 2 p.m., with live television coverage on SPEED Channel and live timing & scoring and audio coverage available online at ARCARacing.com.

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