Improvement's Coming Off The Track For Kimmel Racing

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 by Daniel F in
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Fans of ARCA know that, for the most part, the months of October, November, December and January are slow. There isn't much going on for them to take in. Yeah, there was an ARCA test at Talladega earlier this month and there is a Daytona test in January. But those aren't for the fans. Those are for the teams. And for those teams, the aforementioned months can be just as busy as the May-June-July stretch.

Kimmel Racing was unable to take part in the Talladega test this month after tearing up their super-speedway car in the race back in May. "We've got a smaller team and our focus had to be on the races in front of us," said team owner Bill Kimmel Jr. "With that being our last super-speedway race of the season, there wasn't much of a rush to attend to that car." But fear not, the guys in the shop haven't just been sitting around. There are many ways to improve performance that don't require on-track time.


With the help of Ricky Sanders at PitBoxes.com, Kimmel Racing has acquired a brand new pit box and tool box for use at the races. "This is going to be huge for us. It gives us a bigger presence at the track, and when we do take the new pit box, it almost eliminates the need for the second tool box at the track. This thing is massive, both on top and in drawer space. Of course, when we don't take the new pit box, we'll have the new tool box with us," said Kimmel. The best part about it? "They're both Kimmel Red."


The new pit box has room to seat five people on top with a covered area down below for people to stand. It also comes with six TV monitors that can be wired to display anything. "We can run timing and scoring, telemetry, the race broadcast. I think one of our guys even mentioned running Days Of Thunder on a loop (laughing)."

One thing Kimmel mentioned is telemetry. ARCA teams aren't allowed to have any telemetry devices hooked up to the car on race weekends, but they are free to do it at open test sessions or private test sessions. Racepak is one of the major providers of telemetry software/hardware for racing teams both drag racing and closed/open course racing. It provides the team with real time data as well as recorded data from long runs. That's what Kimmel Racing will be using in the 2018 season and beyond.

"This will give us a much better idea what our car is doing, hard data, rather than having to rely solely on the driver. We can place sensors on the steering column, throttle, brakes, and shocks to monitor travel." All the data compiled goes into the computer, called a data logger, which can also monitor variables itself such as G-Force and acceleration rate.

These aren't the small steps that the team has taken in the past. These are big moves, innovative moves that should help vault Kimmel Racing squarely into that top tier on a consistent basis. They've shown the ability over the last few years; out running high budget teams at intermediate tracks, competing at unique tracks like Pocono and Road America, and winning the pole at DuQuoin in September.

The 2018 schedule for Kimmel Racing hasn't been quite set yet, but be prepared to see more than just ARCA on the schedule.













Another Top-10 For Kimmel

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2017 by Daniel F in
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While waiting for that elusive first ARCA Racing Series victory, Will Kimmel is taking moral victories. And in a season that started off with five straight DNF’s, he’ll take three straight Top-10’s. At his home track in Salem, IN Saturday night Kimmel brought an ailing car home for a 10th place finish to complete his competitive season. Kimmel Racing driver Nick Higdon will pilot the #69 in the final three races at Chicagoland, Kentucky and Kansas.


Salem is usually a family affair for the Kimmel’s and this weekend was no different as Bill Kimmel Sr and Will’s seven month old son William were in attendance. Bill Sr was named the grand marshal for ARCA’s Official Throwback Weekend. “It means a lot to me for Erica (Will’s wife) and little Will to be here. He may not remember these trips, but we will.” Everyone enjoyed the gorgeous Salem afternoon before and after practice/qualifying, but as we all know, the racing is the reason we’re here.

Kimmel’s final lap in practice put him fifth on the speed charts and he found himself in the same spot after qualifying. To say he was happy would put it mildly. “Hahaha, wooooo ,if the car lets me drive like that, we’re going to be fast!” Kimmel started third after the pole sitter had to drop to the tail and quickly settled into fifth place.

On Lap 10, it appeared that the rear end broke out from underneath him and the car moved down the track, falling back to 13th. From that point on, Kimmel was fighting a horribly loose race car. No rear grip, and he couldn’t go full throttle down the straightaways. Still with all that going on, he was picking up spots and found himself inside the Top 10.

“They were telling me on the radio where the leader was and a few laps before the caution (Lap 68) I was coming off turn two; the lap before the caution, I was entering turn three. I thought I was catching them.”

After the lead lap cars pitted on Lap 70 with a majority of them taking two tires Kimmel was comfortably in 6th place, never letting the leaders get more than a straightaway ahead. A final caution on Lap 135 brought the entire field down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. Kimmel restarted sixth and was hanging with the lead group until the rear end finally succumbed to the ultimate problem; a broken locker.
 
“The last 10 laps of the race, I couldn’t even get on the throttle it was so bad. It was like someone was taking a chain and yanking on the rear end. We should’ve wrecked three or four times. I’m thrilled the car came back in one piece, but that was our third broken gear of the season…on a positive note, gears are cheaper than engines! Huge thanks to all the sponsors that made this weekend possible: FASS Fuel Systems, Laramee Jewelers, Team Construction, Interstate Fuel Injection, MC Concrete, Bremm Vinyl, New Washington State Bank and Longhorn Fab Shop.”
 
The team didn’t leave the track completely empty handed though. Through the fan vote before the race, the Kimmel Racing throwback scheme honoring Bill Kimmel Sr was voted the best paint scheme in the race. Other throwbacks included Alan Kulwicki, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s 2001 Pepsi 400 car, Jack Bowsher and the Jeff Burton Exide Batteries car.

The team has already begun working towards the race coming up at Chicagoland Speedway on Thursday night; Nick Higdon will be racing the #69 Kimmel Racing entry. The race will be live on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00pm EST.





Kimmel Rolls Into Salem On A High

Posted: Friday, September 8, 2017 by Daniel F in
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It may be premature to say things are turning around for Kimmel Racing, but if the last two weekends are a sign of things to come, this team is back on the right track. Five straight outings for Will Kimmel ended in DNF's this year and it looked like the bad luck this team has suffered for two seasons wasn't going to end.

They seem to of straightened the ship a little bit with back to back Top-10's on the dirt at Springfield and DuQuoin including Kimmel's first ever ARCA Racing Series pole on Labor Day at the DuQuoin Fairgrounds. His lap of 32.904 fell just shy of Ricky Stenhouse Jr's one lap record of 32.896 set in 2008.

"That's the best car I've ever had. The set up was something we ran during the night race last year and on fresh tires no one could catch us. Once the tires went away we fell off quite a bit but were still competitive. It was a lot of fun to finally show what we're capable of." A couple late race incidents dropped Kimmel to 13th on the final restart but on new tires he made up six spots in two laps to finish seventh. "If we would've had one more lap I think we could have finished fifth; two more laps and we could have won that race. That's how fast the car was."

The team hopes to carry this momentum into one of the biggest weekends of the season, the fall night race at Salem Speedway. Even though Kimmel has loved and excelled on the dirt, Salem has always been the track that he would like to get his first ARCA Racing Series victory at. Will has a career best second place finish back in 2011 at Salem, to go along with two third place finishes in 2013 and 2015.

The weekend will be even more special for the Kimmel family as patriarch Bill Kimmel Sr will be the grand marshal in what ARCA is dubbing their, "Official Throwback Weekend." Kimmel Racing will showcase their special paint scheme, honoring Bill Sr with a paint scheme  resembling his ARCA car last run in the late-70's. "It just made sense to go with something honoring Pop," said team owner and crew chief, Bill Kimmel Jr.

The team went to Salem Speedway last week to test, but the session was cut short with a track bar issue. Will isn't sure what to expect out of the car, but they are going with a tried and true strategy that has worked quite recently.

"Our intermediate cars have been good but we've fallen behind on the dirt tracks and short tracks. So, we took one of our intermediate cars and turned it into a dirt car (two Top-10's this season). And we've taken our best intermediate car and have set it up for Salem this weekend. Everything is where I want it on the scales and in the shop; now it just has to drive."

The Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 Pres. By Meadow View/Salem Crossing goes green at 7:15pm EST on Saturday, September 9th. For a full schedule of events including a pre-race party at the track Friday night, visit www.arcaracing.com.




Salem Speedway Preview

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 by Daniel F in
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It’s been a busy week at Kimmel Racing as the team prepares for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway on Sunday. Even with inclement weather looming over the rolling hills of Indiana, Will Kimmel stays positive. Not just about the chances of racing; but about his car.
“This is the best I’ve felt about my car in a long time. It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of work, but it feels good. Real good.”

Salem Speedway is a homecoming of sorts for the Sellersburg, IN native. Will’s career best finishes in the ARCA Racing Series are at Salem (2nd in the 2011 fall race and a pair of 3rd place finishes in 2013 and 2015). Throw in a Late Model Championship in 2007 at the famed high banked half mile and Kimmel has found more success at Salem than any driver in the field. But as most competitors, Kimmel is greedy for more.

“When I look at previous ARCA races here, and the big street stock races (Firecracker 200 and Halloween 200), I see a few missed opportunities. Chances we had for a big win where we just fell short. Honestly, it’s races like those that push us to get back to victory lane.”

Most fans of ARCA know the spring race at Salem is run on a Sunday and the fall race is run on a Saturday night underneath the lights. And as most of us know there have been years where the fall race is run in warmer weather than the spring, and other years the spring race is bordering on 90°.

“The setup from spring to fall isn’t really different. Surprisingly, if you look at qualifying times over the years, we’re faster in the spring. You wouldn’t think that, but we are.”

In a world where everything is, “better than ever”, Kimmel promises that his optimism about this weekend isn’t just conjecture. “I’ve been over every inch of this car. We’ve torn it down and built it back up more than a few times. We will be really good on the long runs, something we've seen a lot of recently at Salem.” In the last four Salem races, ARCA has seen 11 long runs of 35+ laps; three of those four races ended on runs of 35+ laps.

Kimmel Racing has had quite a few sponsors jump on board for this race: FASS Diesel Fuel Systems, E3, Extreme Trailer Service Inc, Longhorn, Fab Shop, Eddie Gilstrap Motors, J & A Auto Electric, BK Used Cars, Interstate Fuel Injection, Scott’s Sanitation, Klotz, and Dawn Accounting Services.

"Our plan is to go out this weekend, have a great showing and make these sponsors proud. They've all come together to help us at our home track; a lot of them are local and their impact has been huge. Not only for our team but for the local community. If we can return the favor with a great race, it's a win-win for everyone."

The weekend for the race team kicks off Friday night with the Kimmel Racing Fan Appreciation Night at the race shop. They'll have live music, food and drinks as well as a car show and meet & greet with ARCA drivers and local racing legends. It goes from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Address is 201 Lewis & Clark Pkwy, Clarksville, IN 47129.

The following schedule is pending any changes due to weather; practice is Saturday afternoon starting at 11:30 a.m. with qualifications for the Lucas Oil Great American Stocks set for 2:45 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series. 

Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 raceday festivities get underway Sunday morning with the First Harrison Bank on-track autograph session from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by the Great American Stock feature event at 1:00. Pre-race ceremonies, ARCA driver introductions and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 follow.

One Race At A Time? Nope.

Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2017 by Daniel F in
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Kimmel Racing has been hard at work for the upcoming 2017 ARCA Racing Series season which kicks off in two weeks at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Will Kimmel and his wife Erica are awaiting the birth of their first child, William James Kimmel IV, scheduled to be here the week of the race. In preparation for that, the team finished the Daytona car a few weeks ago and Ricky Sanders is scheduled to run the #69. "The Daytona car is just about ready as it sits right now," said Kimmel. "We have a few things to do, but not much. We anticipated this could happen and planned accordingly."

But that doesn't mean that things have been slow at the race shop. There is always something to do and there is always the next next race.


"We've been working hard on the Salem car for the last four days. We hadn't torn it down in a long time and we've found so much stuff wrong with it. I don't know how it got this way, but we're finally getting it back to where it should be."

Salem Speedway is considered by most, if not all, to be the home track for Kimmel Racing. Only an hour north of the race shop in the foothills of the Indiana countryside, Salem Speedway has hosted more ARCA races (100) than any other track in the series' storied history. In the last six years (excluding 2014, when Kimmel didn't run at Salem), he has tallied three Top-5's with a career best runner-up in the 2011 Fall race.

The 2016 season saw Kimmel finish 3rd in the Spring and a disappointing 18th in the Fall race after contact with the outside retaining wall coming out of Turn 4. "We haven't been where we wanted to be at Salem the last few seasons, and it's been frustrating. But this car we've been working on, it'll be ready." The team plans to go up and test as soon as the weather gets nice which will give them an idea of where the car is at compared to where they think it should be.

There is one race between Daytona and Salem; ARCA will run at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds three weeks before Salem. Kimmel Racing will be there with Nick Higdon running the #69. Next up for the team is the Lucas Oil Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway. The first practice is at 4:00pm on Thursday, February 16th. Qualifying is 3:30pm on Friday, February 17th and the green flag drops Saturday, February 18th at 4:15pm EST.




2017 Season Preview

Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 by Daniel F in
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The off-season has been a busy one for Will Kimmel and the entire team at Kimmel Racing. Buying cars, selling cars, setting up cars for aspiring drivers; all the responsibilities of a driver developmental race team. The team just got back from the 2-day open test session for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards that was held on January 13th-14th. "We didn't do a lot, but we accomplished what we needed to", said Kimmel, the third generation driver from Sellersburg, IN. "It was a successful, uneventful test which is what we needed after last year."

In case you don't remember, Kimmel Racing took two intact race cars to the Daytona test in 2016 and came back home with two torn up race cars due to factors completely outside of their control. Kimmel commented that, "...those pictures keep popping up on the Memories feature on my social media."

While the beginning of the season has started off much better in 2017, there is some uncertainty as to whether or not Kimmel will race at Daytona in 32 days. And like the test session in 2016, it is totally out of his control. Will's wife, Erica, is eight months pregnant and due sometime in early February.

"If she has the baby in the next few weeks, I'll be there. Otherwise, I'll be here (in Indiana) with her." The baby will carry on the namesake of his father, grandfather and great grandfather as William James Kimmel IV. While that may seem like a short turnaround for the team, Will assures his fans that they are ready.

"The Daytona car is just about ready as it sits right now. We'd have a few things to do, but not much. We anticipated this could happen and planned accordingly." So far, 2017 has started off the right way for Will and the entire team at Kimmel Racing, which bodes well for the rest of the season. Highlighted weekends on the calendar include Daytona (baby pending), both Salem races and both dirt races. There are other race weekends in play but you can expect the #69 to be fast and competitive at those five.

"Everyone wants to win those races. We've had success at each track in the past and just need one break to go our way." Here's to hoping all the breaks fall towards Kimmel Racing this season. Next up for the team, tentatively of course, is the Lucas Oil Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway. The first practice is at 4:00pm on Thursday, February 16th. Qualifying is 3:30pm on Friday and the green flag drops Saturday, February 18th at 4:15pm EST.