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Apr 24, 2014 - 06:21 AM
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ARCA Champ Kimmel Ready To Defend At Talladega
Posted by: newsla on Apr 24, 2014 - 06:20 AM
ARCA Champ Kimmel Ready To Defend At Talladega; 'Really Excited' For New Qualifying Procedure

Defending Talladega Superspeedway winner Frank Kimmel is ready to defend again. As the all-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards winner with 80 victories, the 10-time series champ does a lot of defending. And he'll do it again when the 51st running of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 rolls off Saturday, May 3 on the historic 2.66-mile superspeedway.


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Kimmel, driver of the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota, will be making his 21st start at Talladega since 1992. If anyone in the ARCA ranks understands the place, it's arguably Kimmel.

"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."

Talk about being in the right place at the right time; Kimmel has won twice at Talladega, both races cut short, one for darkness and the other for rain.

Kimmel finished second in the season-opener at Daytona, and is planning to race the same car at Talladega. However, he was not satisfied in the open test at Talladega last week.

"I was a little disappointed in the overall speed, much like Daytona. 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 the same car (as Daytona), and we're going to try different things to find some speed and make sure we are a contender when we come back.

"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."

In addition, the ARCA officials will 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, which will surely showcase drafting, will determine each car's numerical starting position in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 on Saturday.

"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."

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 is part of the Aaron's Dream Weekend (May 2-4), featuring a quadruple header like no other on Saturday.

The much anticipated Saturday will not only include the always action-packed Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, but also ARCA's International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200, which in years past was held on Friday of the Aaron's Dream Weekend. In addition, a new kind of race will emerge - NASCAR's new and exciting Sprint Cup Series qualifying format - and the popular Saturday Night Infield Concert in the track's iconic infield.

Fans have the option to purchase a special 2-day ticket package for Saturday's events and Sunday's Aaron's 499. In designated areas of the Gadsden and Talladega grandstands, the regular price for a 2-day ticket is $50, with kids 12 and under getting in free.

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame is live on FOX Sports 1 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

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