DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Records are made to be broken, except, arguably, Frank Kimmel’s.
Since his Rookie of the Year season in 1992, Kimmel has been a fulltime fixture on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour. In addition to his nine series championships, he’s been a top-10 point’s finisher in the last 21 consecutive seasons. In reality, it would be very difficult to surpass his nine titles because, truth is, drivers just don’t typically hang around here as long as Kimmel has.
His 10,624 laps-led overall have been building in three different decades. In addition to being the all-time money earner, he’s also the all-time superspeedway pole winner and the all-time superspeedway lap leader. His 76 career wins are among an amazing 246 top-five finishes and 332 top-10s in 448 career starts.
After adding two more wins in 2012, his 76 victories are second only to all-time ARCA winner Iggy Katona, who leads with 79. Already the leader of the pack in so many categories, overtaking Katona for the all-time win mark could be considered Kimmel’s final frontier in the ARCA ranks. And in that quest to surge ahead of Katona in the win category, adding Daytona to the victory column would only sweeten the pot, as it would for anyone. But even sweeter yet for Kimmel, who has never won at Daytona. For a guy who’s won nearly everywhere on tour, Daytona is a piece of the puzzle that’s still missing – and a big piece at that.
And it’s not like he hasn’t tried. The 2013 Daytona ARCA 200, the 50th anniversary race, will make his 22nd consecutive attempt at the ‘World Center of Racing’.
“It’d be nice to have a Daytona win on the resume,” Kimmel said.
“It’s the one place we haven’t been yet. We’ve run really good; we’ve had some great finishes; we just haven’t been first to the finish line yet.”
He got the closest in 2004 and 2005 when he finished second in consecutive seasons to Kyle Busch and Bobby Gerhart, respectively.
Gerhart has won a record eight times at Daytona, yet the Lebanon, Pennsylvania driver has not one ARCA championship.
“Seeing Gerhart win all those times at Daytona is frustrating; I’ll admit it. It’d be so nice to get just one done. Bobby’s wins at Daytona are really remarkable. He knows how to win there. They throw everything they have it. Billy (Bobby’s brother/crew chief) and Bobby do an amazing job.
“If we could just get one win there, it’d be big.
“I got to tell you though – IRP (Lucas Oil Raceway) seemed just as big for me. It’s not Daytona, but it was such a big night for me.”
After nearly four years without a win, Kimmel finally broke his winless streak with a convincing victory at Lucas Oil Raceway last July.
“I really do consider my short track wins to be just as big for me, especially those two last year at IRP and Springfield; but I’d be lying if I said Daytona wasn’t a huge thing. It would be a tremendous accomplishment. A Daytona win would be very special, not only for me, but for my entire family.
“I really think that some of my biggest wins were at DuQuoin (mile dirt) where we beat Tony Stewart two years in a row. We held him off for two years before he finally got his win there, but that was really big for me, personally.
“But a win anywhere is a win, and they’re all important. There’s a reason people cheer in Victory Lane – it’s so hard to get there, no matter where it is.
“I am so excited about the new season. I think we’re going to be even better prepared and even more competitive than we were last year. I can’t wait.”