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Aug 11, 2013 - 03:42 PM
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Kimmel Disappointed Despite 3rd At Berlin
Posted by: newsla on Aug 11, 2013 - 03:40 PM
Kimmel Disappointed Despite 3rd At Berlin

Unlike 2012 when tire strategy cost Frank Kimmel a potential win at Berlin Raceway, Saturday night Kimmel and 24 other ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competitors were simply outrun in the Primera Plastics 200.


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Kimmel finished third in his No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota on Saturday night, behind first-time ARCA race winner Erik Jones and Mason Mingus, Kimmel's main championship rival.

The result was Kimmel's 24th consecutive top-10 finish over the last two seasons with ThorSport Racing.That streak includes Kimmel's second place a year ago at Berlin to 2012 series champion Chris Buescher, when Kimmel led 110 laps only to get overcome in the end by Buescher's better tires.

On Saturday, Kimmel started fifth but never led -- but neither did Mingus. Since Mingus got five bonus points for qualifying third in Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell Saturday afternoon, Kimmel unofficially takes a 195-point lead to next Sunday's race on the mile dirt oval at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

Ironically, Kimmel and Mingus, who've raced around each other all season, were involved in a fender-bender that brought out the race's first of four cautions, at about lap 34 of 200. Kimmel dove inside Mingus going into Turn 3 trying to grab third and was next to the Tennessee teenager, who turned down onto Kimmel's right-front fender.

Mingus spun himself out and lost a couple spots, while Kimmel circled the track under caution wondering about his fender damage potentially cutting a tire. But fellow competitor Justin Boston, who raced around Kimmel all night, looked at the tire and relayed through his spotter that the damage was insignificant.

"It was an eventful night and we got ourselves in a hole a couple different times," Kimmel said. "But that incident with Mason kind of messed up our night, really, because it cost us some track position and we never could make it up.

"The car was fairly decent but I just don't think it was as good as the 15 (Jones' Venturini Motorsports Toyota). We were close, but not quite good enough and Erik was the class of the field and I think he showed it all night."

Kimmel never raced outside the top six spots, with his worst stretch coming at the very start when he slipped back one position and then raced up into the top-four before lap 30, where he remained for the rest of the race.

Kimmel said lapped traffic, which the leaders started encountering on the race's third lap, was the most difficult aspect of the race to manage. But Kimmel lost at least a spot on each of his two pit stops. The first was for two tires at about lap 70 and the second came with just over 50 laps left, when the team added fuel and four tires.

"Our second pit stop didn't go quite as good as we wanted and we lost some track position there," Kimmel said of restarting fourth with 52 laps to go. "By the time we cleared the traffic and got out in the open, they (Jones and Mingus) were just too far gone.

"I think I was better than the 32 (Mingus) at the end of the race and I think at that time the 15 and I were breaking even -- but I just got too far behind."

The race was a stellar comeback for Jones, who was leading with less than five laps left in the previous race at Pocono when his car's engine broke, handing second to Kimmel.

At Berlin, crew chief Jeriod Prince eyed Kimmel's car on pit road after the race, noting the wrinkled right-front fender and a bent lower left-rear quarter panel, and said it would go to ARCA's next asphalt short-track race, on Aug. 25 at Madison, Wis.

"We've run it there before and it's a really good car," Kimmel said of the fast half-mile. "But all of our ThorSport cars are good and I really don't care which one they bring. It's the next place we go, so we'll see."

The Primera Plastics 200 will air on the NBC Sports Network on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 11 p.m. ET, the second of four ARCA short-track races to be telecast by NBC this season.

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