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Jun 04, 2014 - 05:28 PM
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ARCA Icon/Champ Frank Kimmel, In 26th ARCA Start At Michigan
Posted by: newsla on Jun 04, 2014 - 05:24 PM
ARCA Icon/Champ Frank Kimmel, In 26th ARCA Start At Michigan

The upcoming ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race at Michigan Int'l Speedway will mark the 33rd ARCA race at Michigan since the inaugural event in 1980. And 10-time series champion Frank Kimmel has missed very few of them.

Kimmel, a two-time Michigan winner, will be making his 26th start on the two-mile Michigan oval in the June 13 Michigan ARCA 200, live on FOX Sports 1.


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"I've always loved Michigan," Kimmel said.

"I haven't had as much success as some of the other ones; it's a little frustrating, but I love the track...love coming back every year and trying again."

Kimmel's remarkable ARCA tenure at Michigan reaches back to 1992, and the all-time series winner (80 victories) - outside of the '96 season - hasn't missed an ARCA race at Michigan since.

As a result of Kimmel's iconic tenure at ARCA, he gets a lot of questions from the up and coming drivers seeking advice.

"Well, these kids today are so well prepared before they ever get here, and they're in the very best equipment, but when they ask, I'm always happy to help.

"First off...Michigan is an extremely fast place, and one of the things you notice inside the car is that it may feel like you're not really going as fast as you are, which can lead to a false sense of security, and you can't let your guard down.

"As much as the driver needs to be on his or her game at Michigan, the car, set-up-wise, has to be near perfect - the power, the aerodynamics - everything has to be right. It's like a superspeedway - you have to have it all."

Kimmel's had 'it all' in the past at Michigan winning in 1998 and again in 2005. Overall, he's earned 10 top-five finishes at Michigan, including a third place finish in last year's race.

He's also seen a lot of changes at the two-mile track over the years, including the mandating of tapered spacers after the recent re-paving renovation.

"You have to drive it differently now that we're using the tapered spacers. You have to have good downforce with the least amount of drag; it's a really critical balance and hard to get right. You don't have as much power with the spacers so you're driving it more wide open through the turns."

Kimmel also admits that, despite the critical set-up elements, Michigan has a forgiving nature which comes in handy at times.

"That's the cool thing about Michigan. If you're not working good on the bottom, you can find another lane. I would tell rookies that if they miss the bottom lane to not panic; just drive it off where it ends up. You have multiple grooves to work with, which is really helpful. And like anywhere, take care of your car as best as you can each and every lap. It's an interesting place, and a really fun place to race."

ARCA's relationship with Michigan reaches back to 1980 when Joe Ruttman won the inaugural ARCA race event from the pole.

Other former Michigan ARCA winners over the decades include Bob Keselowski, Jeff Purvis, Tim Steele, Kerry Earnhardt, Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Steve Wallace, Parker Kligerman, Ty Dillon, Chris Buescher and Brennan Poole, to name a few.

There hasn't been a repeat ARCA winner at Michigan since Steele pulled off the feat in 1996 and 1997.

Practice for this year's Michigan ARCA 200, which serves as part of the preamble for Sunday afternoon's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400, is from 1:00 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 12. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is slated for Friday raceday morning at 9:30 a.m.

In addition to live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the event will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activity at ARCAracing.com.

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