Salem Speedway Preview

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 by Daniel F in

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

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

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.

Road Trip Review - Michigan Preview

Posted: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 by Daniel F in

Following a broken axle at New Jersey Motorsports Park and a rough test session at Pocono earlier in the week, Will Kimmel was hoping to salvage the long 10-day road trip with a decent finish in the Pocono race on Friday. "We struggled here all week, pretty much since we unloaded. Changed everything we could after the test session on Tuesday and got it as close as we could to what we wanted."

Unfortunately for Kimmel, contact with the #98 of Brady Boswell sent the E3 Spark Plugs/SO Contracting Ford Fusion into the Turn 2 wall, one of the faster parts of the track known so lovingly as the Tricky Triangle.

"I thought I had him cleared, I don't know. One of the problems of running towards the back of the pack here in the ARCA Series is being around guys who aren't sure what to expect, especially at tracks like this."

In his post-wreck interview with FS1, Kimmel mentioned taking their primary Salem Speedway car to Michigan, which is exactly what the team has been working on since they got back from Pennsylvania on Saturday. "I mean, it's not ideal," Kimmel said about taking a Salem car to Michigan. "But we don't really have much of a choice. Just one of those things. It's an older car, but it's dependable and I know what to expect."

E3 Spark Plugs will be on the side of the Kimmel Racing Ford Fusion this Friday at Michigan Int'l Speedway, a track where Will has two Top-10 finishes in five starts, back to back in 2013 and 2014. The two starts at MIS before 2013 were start-and-park efforts, while the 2015 race Will finished 16th due to mechanical problems.

Overcoming adversity is something Kimmel Racing is familiar with, and they couldn't do it with an immense amount of positivity. "Unfortunately, we didn't learn much at New Jersey and Pocono. The wreck at Pocono along with what we broke at NJMP have set us back, but Michigan should be good," said team owner and crew chief Bill Kimmel Jr.

Will shared his father's outlook heading into Michigan. "We are really looking forward to getting back to Michigan. We had a good test there and are really hoping we can pick up where we left off."
Kimmel was fourth in both the morning and afternoon sessions of the open ARCA Test at Michigan on May 19th, turning his fastest lap of 38.268sec / 188.146mph.

Two practice sessions get things going for this year’s Corrigan Oil 200 Thursday afternoon, June 9 from 1:00 p.m. to 1:55 p.m., followed by final practice from 2:05 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for Friday at 1:40 p.m. The Friday afternoon, June 10 Corrigan Oil 200 gets the green flag at approximately 5:45 p.m. The race will air live on FS1.

New Jersey Recap - Pocono Preview

Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2016 by Daniel F in

Last Wednesday the team left Indiana to begin a 10-day road trip including New Jersey Motorsports Park (race) and Pocono Raceway (test and race). After back-to-back Top-5 finishes at NJMP, Kimmel's expectations were the same for this past weekend. "We finished preparing the road course car in February, knowing things were going to get busy. Once we got back from the Michigan test on May 20th, we focused on the road course car. The road courses are fun, because you're constantly busy in the car. I really enjoy them."

After the first practice session, Kimmel was second fastest. "The day started off great, we were second fastest and had the speed we needed. Couldn't have been happier." It went downhill quickly, much to the dismay and confusion of the team. "We made some changes and from there on out, we were losing speed and had no clue why. We lost 2.5 seconds and couldn't figure it out."

After qualifying the team changed gears on the car, forcing them to the rear of the field. Kimmel worked his way up to sixth with an engine he described as 'flat'. Shortly after that, a broken axle ended the day. "The guys worked their tails off to get me back out there and make the best of it. Turns out, we had lost a cylinder as well, which explains the engine problems. To say I'm looking forward to Pocono is a huge understatement."

After turning the 17th fastest lap out of 25 entries in the open test at Pocono on Tuesday, Kimmel and his crew could only speculate as to the extent of the problem. "At first, we couldn't figure out why it wouldn't turn. During the test we realized it was a sway bar issue. We hadn't run this particular sway bar, so we weren't sure what the results would be."

"The composite body already creates a lot of rear downforce which tightens the car up naturally. Add that with the sway bar, and we had a really, really tight race car." Before the practice on Thursday, the team changed just about everything they could. "We loosened the rear up as much as possible; adjusted the track bar, housing, springs on both sides. Everything." Kimmel's fastest lap of practice clocked in at 166.837mph/53.945sec, good enough for 12th fastest out of 32 entries.

Before the fall race in 2015, Kimmel had notched four straight Top-10's at Pocono, including three Top-5's and a runner-up in the 2014 August race. While this road trip hasn't been what they expected, Will and his Kimmel Racing team has proved that they can fight through adversity as well as anyone.

"The changes we made were huge, and they helped a lot. We're going to ride it out and see what happens. I've got a lot of faith in this team to go out and get the job done on Friday." Kimmel will attempt to qualify the E3 Spark Plugs / SO Contracting Ford Fusion at 1:45pm with the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 being televised live on FS1 at 5:30 p.m EST.

Kimmel Prepares For Right Hand Turns

Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2016 by Daniel F in

Will Kimmel and Co. have been busy over the last few weeks. In a 15-day span, Kimmel and his family owned team will take part in two test sessions (Michigan and Pocono) and two full races (New Jersey Motorsports Park and Pocono). So, how have things been in the shop?

"We have been swamped, to say the least. The road course car has been together since February. We knew we were going to get busy and had to get ahead when we had the opportunity."

A seven week break between the season opener at Daytona and the second race at Nashville allowed Kimmel Racing to get the road course car finished, so that they could focus on getting their remaining fleet of cars together. The race shop can hold nine cars comfortably, and at one point in March held 10 that were in varying states of completion.

Following the open test session at Michign Int'l Speedway on May 19th for the composite body cars (where Kimmel was 4th fastest), it was all hands on deck for the road course car. "We came home, got the Michigan car cleaned up then focused on the road course car. It was pretty much done, so we went over everything and put on new brakes on it. Finished it up on Wednesday."

In three career starts at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Kimmel has two Top-5's. Impressive for a driver who had never raced on a road course before coming to ARCA. Part of his success making right hand turns comes from his perspective on road course racing.

" The road courses are just fun, you're constantly busy in the race car. I just enjoy running them because they are different. I try not to look at it as a "road course", but just as a race track that I have to figure out how to get around."

NJMP has two fully functioning layouts (Thunderbolt and Lightning); ARCA will be on the Thunderbolt course which is a 12-turn, 2.25mi layout. ARCA has run at NJMP every year since 2008 with all of the races but one being won by a Dodge. Kimmel will look to put a Ford in victory lane for the first time at NJMP on Saturday when the No. 69 Kimmel Racing E3 Spark Plugs Ford Fusion rolls onto the starting grid.

On-track action will begin with first practice on May 28th from 10:15 – 11 a.m. Final practice will take place from 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place at 2 p.m. The Twilight 150 presented by Unique Pretzels starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 28th. You can listen to the race live at will also feature live timing and scoring and live chat of all on-track activities.

Daytona Preview

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2016 by Daniel F in

It was nearly a month ago that Kimmel Racing lost both the #68 and #69 cars during an open test at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Shortly after the wreck, the father and son team determined that neither car would be able to return for the season opener, and they were forced to go out and purchase a new super-speedway car in preparation for February 13th.

"Outside of our passion and desire for this sport, we owed it to our sponsors to fight and get ready for Daytona," said Bill Kimmel Jr.

"We don't really know what to expect," Will said when asked about the new car. "There's only so much you can learn in the shop. We've just got to get it out on the track and get some laps in with it. We wouldn't have this opportunity if it wasn't for E3 Spark Plugs, SO Contracting, SCCY Firearms and Longhorn Fab Shop. They've really stepped up and made this possible for us."

In the first practice session on Thursday they turned 20 laps in the car, quickly finding some problems. Luckily, a term not used in reference to Will the last couple of seasons, the problems were minor fixes. They were able to fine tune the newly purchased Chevrolet for the second and final practice session on Friday, topping the leaderboard with a lap of 47.543 / 189.302mph.

"We had some problems in practice with the car yesterday. Had a gear go out and found some electrical problems this morning. Today the car was totally different and 100% better. We were able to draft with the #22 and #77 (both Cunningham Motorsports entries) to get to the top of the leaderboard in a pack of about 20 cars. It worked out really well for us."

Last year the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards began using group qualifying at Daytona, along with Talladega and New Jersey Motorsports Park. Nine groups of five cars, grouped based on practice speeds, had eight minutes on the track to turn the fastest lap they could.

"I like the group deal because it takes emphasis off single car runs. It's hard on a small team to spend the money to make a car fast by itself." Will turned a lap of 47.978 / 187.586mph, good enough for ninth. "My goal was to start inside the Top 10, and that's exactly what we are going to do."

The 53rd annual Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona is live on FS1 Saturday, February 13 and precedes NASCAR’s same-night Sprint Unlimited. will feature live timing and scoring and live chat for all on-track activities.