Sets Fast-Time En-Route to Top-10 Finish
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 23, 2010) - From the second Will Kimmel unloaded his No. 44 A &W Root Beer, Dawn R. Durbin, DDS, Clarksville Schwinn, G & G Radiator Late Model at Salem Speedway (IN), he was ready to win. Having competed at Salem on countless occasions, Kimmel knew he had all the necessary tools to pull off a victory - raw talent, a supportive team and a fast car.
Kimmel proved he would be the driver to beat, setting the pace with an impressive time of 17.333 in qualifying - a lap time one tenth faster than the rest of the field. Although starting on the pole would have been advantageous to his success in the 100-lap Late Model feature, Kimmel had to start sixth after the track's inversion.
When the green flag flew, Kimmel wasted no time in putting pressure on the competition immediately passing two cars to take a spot amongst the top-five contenders. By the time the field raced over the finish line on lap five, Kimmel had already made his way into the top-three and had no intentions of looking back.
While effortlessly picking off the frontrunners one by one, a fiery accident brought out the red flag on lap 17, putting a temporary hold on Kimmel's progress. The No. 44 team discussed the car during the race delay when Kimmel described the car as "turning really well" but "a little free in the middle" making it hard to get back on the gas while exiting the turn.
When the field went back to green on lap 18, Kimmel was on a mission to take over the second-place position. Kimmel battled back and forth with the No. 15 for the next 11 laps before getting around him on lap 39. With over half the race left to go, Kimmel knew he was in a good position and was looking to play it smart while chasing down the leader.
While it looked like he would walk away from Salem Speedway with a satisfying finish, lap 58 turned Kimmel's luck in the opposite direction when his car began overheating. Kimmel had no option but to bring his car to pit road and survey the problem. Unfortunately, the damage to Kimmel's car was too extensive to repair and he was forced to retire from the race, taking home an eighth-place finish.
Despite the highs and lows he faced Saturday at Salem Speedway, Kimmel still views the entire day as a valuable learning experience and overall success.
"We were happy with the car - we worked all through practice making changes and getting everything right for qualifying," said Kimmel. "Then we went out in qualifying and picked up over half a second and I qualified over the rest of the field by a tenth so that was really impressive. I don't think anybody on that crew, including dad [Bill] and I, were expecting that, but it really helped everything that was going on; especially since we haven't raced late models in so long."
"Later in the feature we had a good shot to win, we just needed to take our time, conserve tires and keep the fenders on the car until the end," explained Kimmel. "Unfortunately we lost the radiator and ended up with a big hole in it. It was just one of those deals that we couldn't really control - it just wasn't our night. Still, we learned a lot and it was a good night to come out and race and get some good experience."
Kimmel will return to Salem Speedway for his next race on Sunday, July 4th, for the Papa John's Firecracker 200.
Public Relations Account Manager
Salem race was not the finish we had hoped to have had, but the night started off very well as we posted fastest qualifying time. After starting 6th, we worked up to 2nd position before realizing we had a hole in the radiator causing the engine to over heat ending our night early. I would like to thank all the guys for their help as the heat was really hot and with all their help it made my day much easier. I would like to thank Jon Bell for taking the time to come up from Atlanta and spot for me, Andy and Mica for providing all the food and drinks for the team and of course all the guys, Davey, Scott, Eric, Larry, Bob, Tony, Shawn, Kevin and all the guys from the race shop.
Bob, Scott, Eric and Bill were busy Monday night getting ready for Saturday night's race. Preparing the new pit box by PITBOXES.COM is Eric Beyl and Scott Heineman. Bob Peters and Bill are working on the new 53ft transporter that just arrived a few a weeks ago. Check back for more pictures and updates this week.