(TOLEDO, Ohio) - If nine national championships in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards aren't enough, Frank Kimmel's Salem Speedway stats we'll surely get your attention.
With the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by Crosley Radio coming April 27-28, Kimmel will be making his 39th ARCA start on the historic southern Indiana short track, long considered his home track having grown up in nearby Clarksville, Indiana - bout a half hour down the road.
Kimmel, who drives the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota for ThorSport Racing, is also the all-time ARCA winner at Salem with nine wins, including five consecutive from 2000 through 2002. He's also the all-time Salem lap leader with 1637 laps-led in 22 races. However, the Salem track master has not been to Victory Lane at Salem since September of 2008, which is also the last time he led laps at Salem.
"It bothers me; there's no doubt about it," Kimmel said.
"That tells me that our own competition level has fallen while many of the other competitors have risen.
"Unfortunately it doesn't look like we'll get the chance to test either."
With as many laps as Kimmel has around Salem, you'd think testing, or the lack of, would not be a big deal for the hometown favorite.
"Testing at Salem makes a big difference, no matter how many times we've circled the place. Hoosier has a great short track radial we run there, but they change the compound of the tire from time to time. It's still a very tough tire that doesn't wear out, but the point at which the tire's performance levels out, has changed, and that's where testing really makes a difference."
Kimmel finished second at Salem last spring, which has been his best performance there since he won back in '08.
"Last spring is as good as we've been at Salem in some time, so the best we can do is go off our notes from last spring, but that doesn't always work as things change. And we have to change with it."
Obviously, Kimmel is hungrier than ever to get back to Victory Lane at Salem. If he's able to snap his Salem winless streak, he would add career victory number 77 to his overall total. His current 76 career wins are just three away from Iggy Katona's all-time win mark of 79.
"We've got our eye on that all-time win mark, but we just want to get back to victory lane at Salem. We're tired of running sixth. We don't want to run second either. We're coming to win. But, however it comes out, it's just so cool to race at Salem. It's so close to home. That place will always have a special place in the Kimmel family. It's our home track, and we want to win on it."
Other Salem ARCA winners over the years reads like a who's who in motorsports, a list that includes Indy 500 winner Troy Ruttman, NASCAR champions Bobby Allison and Benny Parsons, ARCA champions Nelson Stacy, Jack Bowsher, Benny Parsons, Iggy Katona, Ramo Stott, Tim Steele, Justin Allgaier and Chris Buescher, as well as Bob Schacht, Ken Schrader, Brian Keselowski, and Alex Bowman.
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio is spread out over the weekend with ARCA practice and pole qualifying on Saturday, April 27. Practice and qualifications for the Lucas Oil Great American Stocks will also take place on Saturday. The ARCA 200 is slated to roll off on Sunday, April 28 at 2:15 p.m. The Lucas Oil Great American Stocks kick-off Sunday action with the Crosley Radio 50 at 1 p.m. (EDT).
Tickets both reserved and general admission, are now selling for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 presented by Crosley Radio and may be purchased by calling 812-883-6504 or toll free 1-888-246-7223. Tickets may also be purchased on-line at www.salemspeedway.com.