(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 9, 2013) - It's probably a good thing that ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards teams got the chance to regroup over the recent Independence Day holiday. The short pause in the 2013 schedule will, no doubt, serve as welcome relief for many.
It will also allow teams to prepare for the big push ahead - 10 consecutive races in 10 weeks, starting with the Ansell ActivArmr 150 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday, July 21.
From there, much of the diverse personality of the tour comes alive with an interesting combination of short tracks, a road course, superspeedways, and good old-fashioned dirt track racing.
And if you're nine-time ARCA champion and current point leader Frank Kimmel, the countdown starts even sooner.
As it turns out, Kimmel's ThorSport Racing team has called upon him to drive the No. 13 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 200 this Saturday at Iowa Speedway.
And, just like Kimmel's ARCA car, the truck will be sponsored by Ansell and Menards.
"It's really exciting - of course to get back in a truck - but all my guys that work on the ARCA cars will be crewing the truck at Iowa," Kimmel said.
"We're going at it with a light attitude, no pressure, no points to worry about. We have a three hour practice session Friday; we'll throw a lot at it and see what we can learn. It may even help the ARCA effort when we go back in September. We'll even have our ARCA sponsor, Ansell and Menards, on the truck. It's really a cool deal."
And when the fun's over at Iowa, it's right back in the ARCA saddle for 10 more. To get ready, Kimmel's crew chief Jeriod Prince and the ThorSport Racing team are doing all they can to get ‘ahead of it'.
"We feel like we're ahead of it," Prince said.
"We can't get too far ahead of ourselves because we're racing the same cars at different tracks, but we're as ahead of it as we can be at this point.
"Our Chicagoland car will be our Pocono car, and our back-up road course car will be our dirt car for Springfield and DuQuoin, so we can't complete our primary dirt car until we get New Jersey (Motorsports Park road course) behind us.
"As far as our short track cars go, we're in pretty good shape. The car that won at Winchester will be our Berlin car, so that's all pretty much ready to go."
And from Kimmel's perspective, and based on his performance so far in 2013 - he's the only three-time winner this year - he'll be more than 'ready to go' in the second half of the season.
In fact, between Chicagoland, Pocono, Berlin, Springfield, DuQuoin, Iowa, Salem, Kentucky and Kansas - all in the back half of 2013 - Kimmel has a combined 36 wins, including nine at Salem, eight at Springfield, five at DuQuoin and four at Kentucky just for starters.
"I think we've had so much success over the last part of the season is because I'm going to tracks I really like. Iowa's just a beautiful facility and so much fun to drive. Salem's our home track, and Pocono - we've always been good there."
And then there's the dirt - Springfield and DuQuoin - steeped in history and tradition with Kimmel's name in the winner's column more than any others. Kimmel is the defending race winner on the Springfield mile dirt, a record eighth at the legendary fairgrounds State Fair oval.
"I think Springfield and DuQuoin are my two favorite races of the year. There's so much tradition at both tracks, and we ran so good there last year. It's something I really look forward to every year. Can't wait to get back to the state fairs."
Despite Kimmel's near four-year dry spell (September 2008 - July 2012) without a win, he's not one to dwell on the past.
"It's just so nice to be running well again. I don't dwell on the past or what people have said about it (the dry spell). I don't fault anyone for saying anything. I mean, I doubted myself for a time there; we just couldn't win a race. I don't carry a chip on my shoulder though; but I can tell you it feels really, really good to know we have a car that can run up front wherever we go."
Contact: Don Radebaugh
Remaining 2013 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Note the diversity in track type, shape and size.
July 21: Chicagoland Speedway/1.5-mile paved oval (Ansell ActivArmr 150)
July 28: New Jersey Motorsports Park/2.25-mile road course (Barbera's Autoland 150 presented by Driven Racing Oil)
August 2: Pocono Raceway/2.5-mile paved triangle (ModSpace 125)
August 10: Berlin Raceway/.4-mile paved oval (Berlin ARCA 200)
August 18: Illinois State Fairgrounds/1-mile dirt oval (Allen Crowe Memorial 100)
August 25: Madison Int'l Speedway/.5-mile paved oval (Herr's Live Life With Flavor 200)
September 2: DuQuoin State Fairgrounds/1-mile dirt oval (Southern Illinois 100)
September 7: Iowa Speedway/7/8ths-mile paved oval (Prairie Meadows 150)
September 14: Salem Speedway/.555-mile paved oval (Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic)
September 20: Kentucky Speedway/1.5-mile paved oval (ZLOOP 150)
October 4: Kansas Speedway/1.5-mile paved oval (Kansas Lottery 98.9)