For Frank Kimmel — the nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion, currently working on his tenth — this race weekend at Iowa Speedway will present a “double duty” opportunity of a different sort.
Thursday evening, the current ARCA Racing Series points leader, who has won three races so far this season, announced he would be making his first start in the NASCR Camping World Truck Series in nine years in the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen on Saturday night. For those who follow him in the ARCA Series, is shouldn’t be too difficult to find him on the 0.875-mile tri-oval in Newton.
Less than two weeks after picking up his record-tying 79th career victory in the ARCA Series at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in the No. 44 Ansell/Mendards Toyota Camry, he will drive the No. 13 Toyota Tundra with a primer-gray paint scheme typical to the No. 13, highlighted by the Day-Glo orange swoosh stripes with the Ansell/Menards sponsorship package Kimmel Kimmel runs regularly in ARCA.
Kimmel, who was already in town to help run his signature 200-lap Street Stock Nationals event at Iowa Speedway tonight, will be running for ThorSport Racing, the same Sandusky, Ohio-based team he runs with in the ARCA Series. The crew will be led by Jeriod Prince.
Kimmel has 12 career Truck Series starts, the most recent in 2004 for owner Bob Keselowski, for whom he had a career-best eighth-place finish that season at Daytona. While Kimmel’s won four of his nine ARCA championships since that last Truck Series race, he did have one Truck attempt since then.
“ThorSport and I have got some unfinished business in the Truck Series,” he said. “We tried to make the 2011 season finale at Homestead when Johnny Sauter had a shot to win the championship and we were trying to support that effort. But even though Jeriod had a truck that was fast enough in practice to make the race, qualifying got rained-out and we had no owner points, so we sat that one out.”
The ThorSport No. 13 truck currently stands 16th in the Truck Series owners’ standings, which means Kimmel is a guaranteed a starting position at Iowa Speedway. The truck has been driven this season by Todd Bodine — who piloted it for its first seven races this season — and most recently by Grimes native Brett Moffitt.
Moffitt, who is contending for a K&N Pro Series East title, has a conflicting race commitment in that series this weekend while the trucks race at his “home track.” That opened the door for Kimmel, who currently holds a 175-point lead in the ARCA standings as that series nears its midway point.
The Clarksville, Ind., native has six consecutive top-seven ARCA finishes at Iowa Speedway, including a win in 2007. His average finish on the 0.875-mile tri-oval is 8.6.
“The Camping World Truck Series is a reflection of not only where I came from in my racing career, but where a lot of drivers got their start,” Kimmel said. “Iowa Speedway is the perfect place to come back to the series, because a driver can get his elbows up, get up on the wheel and make a difference getting around the racetrack.”
Kimmel is consistency standard in ARCA this season. He’s the only ARCA driver with 10 top-10 finishes in the first 10 races. He currently is on a string of 20 consecutive top-10 finishes — nearly an entire season’s worth — dating back to the middle of the 2012 season.
“My guys at ThorSport have done a great job with my Ansell/Menards Toyota Camrys all season in ARCA,” Kimmel said. “Jeriod and Rich (Lushes, truck/car chief) have brought great cars and trucks to the track all season and I can’t wait to get their Toyota Tundra on the racetrack at Iowa.”