TOLEDO, Ohio – official team release — Venturini Motorsports photos —
If race fans were disappointed that Frank Kimmel wasn’t in the line-up in the spring ARCA Racing Series presented Menards race at Salem Speedway, they’ll be super excited, times two, when the Federated Car Care Fall Classic rolls off Saturday night, Sept. 19
Not only will Kimmel be back in the No. 25 Ansell-Menards Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, his son Frank Kimmel II is entered in a second Venturini Motorsports machine.
“I’m not sure who came up with the plan or how it all came up, but one night my dad called me and mentioned that Billy (Venturini) wanted to run me at Salem,” Kimmel II said. “I did a start and park for them in the spring, but we’re coming to race this time. My dad started talking to me about it back in May…then in mid-June Billy said, ‘let’s put something together,’ and we’ve been working toward it ever since.”
Kimmel II is slated to drive the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports Toyota, the same car that Dominic Ursetta finished third in at Salem back in late April.
“The seat got mounted last week…the chassis went to the paint shop. It’s going to look like a brand new car. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Kimmel II knows he’ll be up against some stiff competition – the most recent Salem winner Ken Schrader, current ARCA point leader Grant Enfinger and his dad, who just happens to be a nine-time winner at Salem.
“Our mindset going in is to run all 200 laps. The 55 car I’m driving is right in the thick of it for owner points, so I can’t do anything too crazy. If we run all 200 laps, don’t put a scratch on it and roll it back on straight, it’ll be a good day, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about winning the race. I want to win that race more than anything right now, and that means beating my dad.”
Kimmel’s father has a little different spin on it.
“We’re all racing each other, whether it’s our teammates or not, and we all have a job to do for our sponsors and all the people who support us,” said Frank Kimmel, a 10-time ARCA national champion.
“But it’s crazy to think that I wouldn’t be rooting for my kid. Of course I’m going to be aware of where he’s at and what he’s doing out there. He’s got a job to do just like I do. He knows I want to win, and I understand he wants to win it.
“We’ll just try and take care of each other just like any teammates would…no more, no less. There’d be nothing cooler than Frankie and me battling for the win in the end. It would absolutely be the coolest thing in the world if Frankie could win an ARCA race at Salem. But if I have a faster car in the end, and if I can pass him without touching him, I’m going to do it. He wouldn’t want me to lay over for him, and I wouldn’t expect him to lay over for me.”
Of course at Salem it’s not just the other competitors that get in the way, it’s the grand ole track itself that keeps drivers constantly up on the wheel.
“I was talking with Billy about Salem the other day,” said Kimmel II. “Salem’s probably the toughest short track ARCA races on. The place is so unforgiving. Forget the other competitors for a minute. Salem doesn’t permit any mistakes. Trouble is…if you commit yourself to a particular line in the corners, you’re committed. If you get in a bad situation, it’s nearly impossible to get out of it. If someone spins in front of you, once you’ve committed in the corner, there’s usually no way out. Spotters are a big deal there, and you have to be aware of who you’re racing and who you’re around at all times. There’s nothing simple about the place.”
Like his father, Kimmel II has racked up some impressive credentials at Salem over the years, earning three consecutive championships from 2008 through 2010. After winning the Rookie of the Year honors in the Salem Street Stock class in 2007, Kimmel II won the championship in 2008. In 2009, he moved up into the Super Stock class, earning Rookie of the Year and the season championship in the same year. Kimmel II repeated as the Salem Super Stock champ in 2010.
Kimmel II also won the Firecracker 200 at Salem in 2007 and the Halloween 200 in 2011. He’s also a two-time winner of the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals at Rockingham Speedway.
Kimmel II also earned a pair of seventh place finishes in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards races at Salem in 2011 and 2012.
“I just want to thank Venturini Motorsports for this incredible opportunity they’re giving me. I’m going to have a lot of local support from family and friends for the race. Special thanks to Class Act Trucking and Jim French Builders for their support. We’ll have some more names on the car too. I’m really excited.”
Kimmel II’s cousin Will Kimmel is also expected to enter the Federated Car Care Fall Classic at Salem.
The Fall Classic weekend also coincides with Salem’s Old Settlers Days festival, which kicks off with Friday Night on the Square in downtown Salem. ARCA and Salem officials, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, are planning an ARCA driver autograph session Friday night in the town square to accompany the festival.