STARTING OFF, OR FINISHING UP? Frank Kimmel and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards team head to sunny Homestead-Miami Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale when most teams are finishing the season. However, with last week's announcement for a full season in 2012 at ThorSport Racing in the ARCA Racing Series, it was only fitting that the nine-time ARCA Champion and All-time Winning Purse Driver take the wheel in Homestead in a fourth entry with ThorSport.
SUM IT UP: Kimmel has 12 overall starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since 1995; plus the added bonus of 341 starts over 16 years in the ARCA Racing Series. Three of his NCWTS starts included Homestead-Miami Speedway, with his best finish coming in 1996 in the ninth position. Kimmel is just five victory lane appearances away from all-time winningest driver in the ARCA Racing Series - Iggy Katona - and hopes to eclipse the record in 2012 with ThorSport Racing.
TAKING THE TEST: After running the NCWTS race, Kimmel gets a quick holiday break with his family, then returns to the racetrack. He will be accompanying the No. 44 Ansell/Menards entry to Daytona for the annual tire test in the ARCA Racing Series in December.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Frank Kimmel
AFTER EVERYTHING IN THE ARCA RACING SERIES...TRUCKS?
Yes, Trucks! Can you believe it? I'm actually not new to the Truck Series - I've raced a few in the last 15 years. This really boiled down to sheer opportunity. We're focused on racing for my 10th ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards Championship in 2012. When Duke and Rhonda Thorson, team owners, asked if I would help drive for them in a fourth truck in Homestead, I said absolutely! So it's a great way to race with my new teammates and get to know them - Johnny and I have known each other through the late model world for years; and Matt and Dakoda and I have raced ARCA together for some time. It's a great fit overall, but my heart is in the ARCA Racing Series for 2012.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THORSPORT RACING SO FAR?
It's awesome to be in an organization that really takes running for championships so seriously. Just being up at the shop in Sandusky the last two weeks, I'm really blown away. The shop boys are there until all hours of the night preparing these trucks; and the facility is just unreal - 100,000 square feet of space ready for a fleet. Duke and Rhonda have achieved excellence over the last 16 years slowly and steadily - and it's really paying off. I couldn't be more excited to add a new "arm" to the program and show some muscle on track.
ARE YOU READY FOR HOMESTEAD THIS WEEKEND?
I was actually on the original configuration and did a truck race in '96. They then went back and did the intermediate configuration. It's just the prettiest racetrack, now that it's not a rectangle, and it's a lot of fun. I'm not a stranger to trucks, even though they have more downforce and better turn speed than Sprint Cup cars - those things are serious weapons on track. It takes a little more getting used to, going through corners with such throttle. I'm excited though - that's my kind of racing. I think Johnny calls it "beatin' and bangin' racing" - bring it on!
ANYTHING YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT RIGHT NOW?
The only thing I'm concerned about is that it's the last race of the year in the NCWTS, and we've got a lot of guys gunning for serious position in the points. I don't want to be the guy that makes the difference in where someone finishes for the year. So I'll be pretty respectful on track and know who I'm running around, for sure. I know and have raced around 99% of these guys anyway. This weekend is a great opportunity to have the first start ever for Ansell in the NCWTS, and a great way to kick off the relationship with ThorSport Racing for 2012. Hey, you never know - we might just sneak into Victory Lane!