|Salem, Indiana (May 1, 2012) - - Will Kimmel and his Kimmel Racing team had high hopes for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. Unfortunately, a series of obstacles spiraled their weekend into one that frankly they would like to forget about.|
Proudly carrying the colors of the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers on-board his No. 68 Ford Fusion, the former track champion lived up to his experience at the track during the first practice session on Saturday afternoon. In fact, despite just turning five laps which mounted the No. 68 Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Ford Fusion at the top of the board, the engine seized with a trail of smoke billowing from behind.
The family-owned team quickly sprang into action and replaced the motor with a back-up. The change would keep the team on the sidelines for the final practice session, but the gallant effort would allow Kimmel to participate inMenards pole qualifying presented by Ansell.
Mounting the 14th quickest lap in time trials, Kimmel was easily disappointed but after debriefing with father, crew chief and owner Bill Kimmel, the team would turn their focus to race day.
After storms rolled through the track on Saturday night, the next morning brought cooler temperatures and overcast skies allowing the 200-lap contest to start on-time. From the drop of the green, Kimmel easily began maneuvering his No. 68 Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Ford Fusion towards the front.
Despite battling a loose-racecar Kimmel still began charging forward through the event's first 50 circuits tucked just outside the top-10. By lap 62, Kimmel had moved his way into the top-10 and continued to reel in the competition ahead of him.
15 laps later though on lap 77, Kimmel was racing the No. 09 for position on the lead lap when contact was made from the No. 09 sending Kimmel's Ford hard into the outside wall; virtually destroying the back-end of the No. 68 Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Ford Fusion.
After climbing from his automobile and conversing with the driver of the No. 09; Kimmel made the trip back to the infield with the tow-truck hanging through the driver's window in obvious disbelief. In the final rundown, Kimmel would settle for a 26th place finish.
"This is by far not what we wanted," said Kimmel. "He (No. 09) said his throttle hung going into turn one. I'm not sure. I thought it really was too early to be racing (hard) like that. We still had a long way to go. After the engine problem's yesterday, the car really hooked up to the track and we running laps comparable to the No. 22. We were really just biding our time, taking one position at a time and gearing up for a change on the pit stop."
He added, "I really want to thank the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers for jumping on-board with us at Salem, it means a lot to every single person on this team. I'm devastated that we weren't able to contend for victory, but we will be back. I also want to personally thank the guys on this team for their confidence and support this weekend. We'll take this string of bad luck on the short-tracks and go back restrictor plate racing and see if we can't find ourselves back in the spotlight."
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is a trip to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for the running of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 on Friday, May 4. The 94-lap / 250-mile event will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 4:00 p.m. (CST).