Frank Kimmel To Make Daytona 500 Attempt
Eight-Time ARCA Champ Joins Forces With Hillenburg
Eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel will attempt to make his first career start in the historic Daytona 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race with the help of fellow ARCA champion Andy Hillenburg.
Kimmel will pilot the No. 71 FastTrack Ford Fusion for the SpeedWeek events including Sunday’s qualifying round as well as Thursday’s Gatorade Duels which will determine Kimmel’s spot in the starting field for the Daytona 500.
Kimmel has made seven previous NASCAR Cup Series starts in his career with his best starting position coming at Talladega Superspeedway in 2002 of 29th. His best finish of 26th place position came at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October of 2002 while competing for team owner Travis Carter. Kimmel has plenty of starts at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway including 15 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts, one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start where he finished eighth in 2004 and last season’s IROC start where he finished in the third position. Kimmel understands that just qualifying for the Daytona 500 will be a large task, but he feels his own experience at the track gives the FastTrack Racing team an excellent chance.
“There are a lot of very strong cars and drivers that put a tremendous amount of work into their cars just to come to Daytona and attempt to make the field,” said Kimmel. “The FastTrack Racing team is no exception, Andy (Hillenburg) and his team has put together a great car and it would be a great accomplishment for all of us to earn a starting position in the Daytona 500. I do think there is some advantage to having a lot of experience drafting when it comes to making this race because of the unique qualifying format of the Gatorade Duels. That race will be all about keeping my nose clean, but finishing high enough to earn a place in Sunday’s race.”
Hillenburg, a two-time ARCA 200 winner at Daytona, was the 1995 ARCA RE/MAX Series driving champion.
“We’re excited about returning to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” said owner Hillenburg, who has 16 NNC starts to his credit. “We’ve been able to put this program together quietly and quickly, but I
think we have a shot at making Daytona.”
For the Gatorade 150 duel, the team will have “Fast Track 11”, a new multi-purpose degreaser product developed by Hillenburg on as a sponsor of the team’s Ford Fusion. However, the team is still hoping to attract a primary sponsor for the 49th annual Daytona 500.
“We hope to be the Cinderella story of 2007,” added Hillenburg. “We wouldn’t be going into Speedweeks if we didn’t think we had a chance of making the race. My team is working hard and around the clock to make sure we’re all set for Daytona. This is an exciting announcement for everyone at Fast Track Racing.”
Kimmel will compete in Saturday’s ARCA 200 at Daytona prior to Sunday’s initial qualifying round for the Daytona 500 and will have only two practice sessions in preparation for Thursday’s Gatorade Duels.
Daytona 500 qualifying will be televised on Fox at 2:00pm ET on Sunday, February 11 and the Gatorade Duels will be televised on Speed at 2:00pm ET on Thursday, February 15.