The last time Frank Kimmel raced at Pocono Raceway (August of '08), he was involved in a horrific crash in between turn one and the tunnel turn. As a result, the nine-time champ sat out most of the next race at Nashville to recoup in time for his typical late-season rally, one that produced three wins at Springfield, DuQuoin and Salem.
But for now, it's back to the scene of the accident where Kimmel will take yet another run at the renowned 2.5-mile triangular shaped course. The upcoming Pocono ARCA 200 Saturday, June 6 will represent Kimmel's 33rd career start on the Long Pond, PA track. In fact, Kimmel hasn't missed a race at Pocono since his debut there in the spring of 1992.
Kimmel has also won Pocono three times in 1999, 2005 and 2006, and has finished second on six occasions. Overall, Kimmel has 16 top-five finishes at Pocono. In other words, he knows how to get around the "tricky triangle".
"The track's a blast to drive," said Kimmel. "It's extremely fast; you're going a lot faster than you think, so you have to give and take constantly. Some drivers seem willing, and at times others don't; and that's when trouble happens.
"Biggest thing I see is people trying to race each other into the corners. Most of the time, you have to give the corner; and what I mean by that is if they have the position, then let them go. Side-by-side is doable through the corners but it's not necessarily the best thing to do. Side-by-side in the corners at Pocono can end up being bad for both."
Despite the bad crash, Pocono, for the most part, has been very good to Kimmel over the years, and he hopes this year's race will get his Kimmel Racing team back on track.
"I can assure you that the entire Kimmel Racing team is not happy with our performance so far, and we will strive to improve that performance. Pocono's been a very good track for me, and I've always looked forward to going there. Love the place; it's challenging but a lot of fun. It's the perfect place for us to get back on track."
If Kimmel is to get back on track at Pocono, he'll have to do it without shifting. ARCA RE/MAX Series officials have taken the 'shifting' element out of the equation.
"I'll probably be at a disadvantage with that. Been shifting so long there we know what we have and what we need to do. But for the series as a whole, doing away with shifting is absolutely the right thing to do. Just put it in high gear and drive around the track."
On-track activity for the Pocono ARCA 200 starts Friday, June 5 with practice from 10:15 AM to 11:55 AM. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows at 1:45 PM. The Pocono ARCA 200 kicks off Saturday afternoon, June 6 at 1:00 PM and will be televised same-day on SPEED at 8:30 PM.
In addition, the ARCA Racing Network will carry live streaming audio coverage of the Pocono ARCA 200 at ARCAracing.com inside the ARCA Nation.
Tickets for the Pocono ARCA 200, the SPRINT Cup Series event and the entire 2009 Pocono Raceway season are available by contacting the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929), or through http://www.poconoraceway.com.