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MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Frank Kimmel II, son of nine-time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion Frank Kimmel, has had Saturday, September 17 circled on his calendar for a long time.
The third-generation driver will take the green flag at Salem Speedway for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic by Federated Car Care, piloting the Cunningham Motorsports No. 77 Ford Fusion to the first full ARCA Racing Series race of his career.
While Kimmel II will be considered a rookie in the ARCA Racing Series, the 21-year-old driver is by no means a rookie when it comes to racing on Salem Speedway's famed high banks. As the home track to the Kimmel family, Salem has played host to several of Kimmel II's early-career wins, including a season championship at the 0.555-mile oval in the street stock division (2008) and two super stock championships (2009, 2010). With the confidence from that success along with the advice from his father, a nine-time ARCA Racing Series winner at Salem Speedway, Kimmel II looks to carry that success to ARCA Racing Series competition.
"I am really excited to get to start my first full ARCA race at Salem," said Kimmel II. "I have run about 50 races up there and believe my experience at Salem will help me get more comfortable in the car. I have to thank Dad for getting this all together and of course Mom for letting us do this racing thing we love."
Adding to Kimmel's excitement is that he will be teaming up with Cunningham Motorsports to pilot the No. 77 Ford Fusion. Cunningham Motorsports has a proven track record of success at Salem Speedway, just last year bringing rookie driver Dakoda Armstrong to victory lane at the 0.555-mile short track. The Mooresville, N.C.-based team already has one ARCA Racing Series short track victory in 2011 (Winchester) and Kimmel II knows they have what it takes to that success next weekend.
"We have Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer helping us out and I can't be more excited for that," said Kimmel. "That really made all of this possible. My dad put the car together and Paul Andrews and his team are going to put the finishing touches on it. I know the car will be capable of winning; the driver is another story."
In addition to the help from his Cunningham Motorsports team, Kimmel II has several local Salem-area sponsors jumping on board to make his dream a possibility.
"I am very lucky that we have had a lot of help in order to make this happen. I really have to thank Mars Trucking, Jim French Builders, Clarksville Schwinn and Fitness, Newlons Grocery, and Green Oak Farms. Without their support this would not be possible."
Kimmel II began his foray with the Cunningham Motorsports team on Thursday as he spent the day at Salem Speedway testing.
"I am excited we had the opportunity to test too, not only for the learning experience in an ARCA car but also for the chance to practice restarts and pit stops. If the race results sheet says 200 of 200 laps completed next to our car next weekend I will think the whole weekend was a success."
Frank and Frank II are not the only Kimmel’s entered in Saturday’s race, as Will Kimmel, Frank’s nephew and son of ARCA championship crew chief Bill Kimmel, is also planning on running in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic.
The ARCA Racing Series is set to roll into Salem Speedway on Saturday, September 17th for 200 laps of short track racing action under the lights. Practice begins at 1:05 p.m. Eastern with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 4. The green flag will drop on the ARCA Fall Classic 200 at 7:15. A 50-lap race for the Salem Speedway Great American Stocks kicks-off the racing action at 5:30 p.m.