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Jun 14, 2013 - 06:38 AM
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Michigan Practice Gives Kimmel High Hopes
Posted by: newsla on Jun 14, 2013 - 06:34 AM
Michigan Practice Gives Kimmel High Hopes

Frank Kimmel set up a classic "old school versus new school" duel Thursday at Michigan International Speedway during an extended practice session for Friday's Patriot Pumps 200 for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.


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Penske Racing development driver Ryan Blaney stepped into the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge for the first of three races he'll do this season, and was fastest in the two-hour, 25-minute session with a lap that was a little more than three seconds faster than Kimmel's best, in 186.374 mph.

But Kimmel's spirits were bolstered by how well his No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota drove over the 38 laps he put in, compared to 22 laps logged by Blaney. Kimmel's best lap was in 184.403 mph.

"This might be the best car I've ever had here," said Kimmel, who has 24 career starts at the fast, two-mile oval. "It turns when I need it to turn, right down to the bottom of the racetrack where you need to run.

"We were able to run wide-open through Turns 3 and 4 quite often, and that's what you need to do to be fast here. I believe we'll have something to deal with those kids."

Venturini Motorsports part-timer Brennan Poole, whose No. 15 Toyota was one of three Venturini cars that broke engines in practice, recovered to post the third-best lap, one-tenth of a second slower than Kimmel.

Kimmel has a pair of Michigan victories and comes into Friday's race riding a streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes at Michigan. Kimmel has 78 career ARCA victories, which remains one shy of Michigan native Iggy Katona's record 79 wins.

Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET Friday to set the starting grid. ARCA will hold a full-field driver autograph session in the infield, in which Kimmel will participate, from 1:45-2:30 p.m.

Michigan is the first race in ARCA's "Bill France Four Crown Challenge," which awards drivers points in four races on diverse venues: Michigan, the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course, the Springfield Mile dirt track and the Salem Speedway asphalt short track.

The season's eighth race, the Patriot Pumps 200, is 100 laps and 200 miles and is scheduled for a 5 p.m. Friday start with live TV coverage on the SPEED Channel, with a re-broadcast at 10 p.m. Friday.

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