Frank Kimmel returned to the driver’s seat making his 494th career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start in Sunday’s Menards 200 presented by Federated Auto Care at Toledo Speedway.
Already the series’ all-time winner, Kimmel was looking to cash in on his success with his 10th overall career victory at Toledo Speedway. Armed with a strong No.25 Ansell-Menards Toyota, Kimmel qualified sixth for the event.
Riding in the top-5 most of the day Kimmel was ready to make his move towards the front and challenge for the lead. After a late race caution the race was seemingly going to be decided with a 20-lap shootout with Kimmel running in the third position behind race leader Grant Enfinger and the second place car of Austin Wayne Self.
“We had a great car all weekend long. Grant (Enfinger) was definitely the class of the field today and I don’t think we were going to do anything with him but I felt we had the second best race car for most of the day,” said Kimmel.
Unfortunately for Kimmel, on lap-180 while going into turn three the race leader, Enfinger slowed drastically with transmission issues causing the front running cars to stack up. Unable to see through the car of Self in front of him, Kimmel had nowhere to go and was collected in a five car accident.
“There’s really nothing more I could have done there to avoid that wreck. I was running really hard trying to get around the 98 car (Self) for second place when I guess Grant (Enfinger) broke a transmission. I couldn’t see Grant beyond the car in front of me. So when he stopped, the 98-car plowed into him leaving me and the guys behind me with nowhere to go,” said Kimmel.
With severe hood damage to his Ansell- Menards Toyota Kimmel lost his position as he had pit to repair damages. Kimmel reentered the race three laps down ultimately salvaging an 11th place finish.
Kimmel’s teammate, Todd Gilliland who was running in the sixth position at the time of the accident, would survive the melee and go on to earn his first career ARCA win.
“Congratulations to Todd and his family. The Venturini team had two top-5 cars all day long and either one of them could have won the race, and one of them did,” said Kimmel.
Kimmel will step aside this coming weekend while his No.25 driving teammate, Brandon Jones, jumps back behind the wheel at New Jersey Motorsports Park for next Sunday’s running of the ARCA 150 presented by Unique Pretzels. The New Jersey race marks the sole road course event of the ARCA season.
Kimmel will return to action in two weeks when the ARCA series visits Pocono Raceway on June 6th.