Frank Kimmel

ARCA

Tour racing returns to the Milwaukee Mile with ARCA Midwest

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On Father’s Day 2019, tour racing will return to the Milwaukee Mile marking the track’s first super late model race in five years.

The 75-mile ARCA Midwest Tour race will headline a card that includes the Midwest Trucks, Mid-American Stock Cars and Upper Midwest Vintage series.

“It is our continued initiative to bring racing back to the historic Milwaukee Mile,” said Kathleen O’Leary, CEO at the Wisconsin State Fair Park on the ARCA Midwest Tour website. “We are excited to host this race on Father’s Day in 2019.”

ARCA’s premiere series raced three times at Milwaukee with Frank Kimmel winning the most recent event in August 2007.

NASCAR’s last appearance at the track was a double header in with the Xfinity and Gander Outdoor Truck series in 2009. Carl Edwards won the Xfinity race; Ron Hornaday Jr. won in Trucks.

The last major event on the .75-mile track was an IndyCar race in July 2015 won by Sebastian Bourdais.

The Milwaukee Mile has hosted races since 1903, which makes it the oldest operating motor speedway.

Multi-time champion also served as matchmaker for Brad Keselowski

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All-time series winner, record holder in series championships and most successful series driver are just some of the titles attached to Frank Kimmel.

Add matchmaker as well.

Brad Keselowski credits Kimmel, the 10-time ARCA champion and longtime family friend, with introducing him to girlfriend Paige White.

“Frank has done a lot of tremendous things,’’ Keselowski said this week in a conference call with reporters. “I can remember him from as far back to the first time I met him when I was 8 years old, and we used to call him the big kid because he was a big guy, right, and he would walk around with squirt guns and squirt us as kids. We’d play with him back and forth and we had a grand old time.’’

But it goes beyond that.

In interviews for an NBC SportsWorld story on Keselowski in July, White and Kimmel discussed the role Kimmel played in the early courtship of Keselowski and White.

White said she met Kimmel and his family in 2013. White was standing with Kimmel at Kentucky Speedway when Keselowski approached.

Keselowski later sent a message to Kimmel’s son that he wanted Kimmel to call him. Kimmel did.

“Brad just said, ‘I have a funny question for you,’ ” Kimmel recalled Keselowski telling him.

Keselowski asked Kimmel about White.

“I told him that’s a great little girl,’” Kimmel said.

White and Keselowski met at Martinsville that fall but White admitted “it was super awkward. You could tell he was trying so hard. You know how it is when you meet someone for the first time that you think you might like.’’

He asked her to dinner but she turned him down. White, the daughter of racer, was going to watch her father compete that night.

Their paths crossed again at Texas Motor Speedway. Keselowski won the Xfinity race there and gave White his cowboy hat that the winner received. He asked her to hang out with him that weekend but she turned him down because she was with family.

A couple of weeks later at Homestead-Miami Speedway, she agreed to go to dinner with Keselowski – along with Kimmel and his wife, Donna. White went there that weekend with the Kimmels because he was competing in the Camping World Truck race.

All three were to go to dinner with Keselowski after the Xfinity race. He won. His victory lane duties delayed their dinner plans. Eventually, they went out to dinner.

The next night, they went to dinner again and White had the Kimmels join them again.

“It made it easier that people were with us,’’ White told NBC Sports in May.

The following week she and Keselowski had dinner together in the Charlotte, N.C., area.

Asked in May how White has changed him, Keselowski said: “I feel like I have someone closer to me to talk to which is good.”

He noted last fall’s Sprint Cup race at Texas where he and Jeff Gordon made contact late in the race when Keselowski made a move for the lead. Gordon confronted Keselowski on pit road after the race. After Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski back toward Gordon, a melee ensued, leading NASCAR to suspend four members of Hendrick Motorsports and penalize two of the organization’s crew chiefs.

Keselowski said White proved comforting after that.

“When everything happened at Texas, I felt pretty confident that I handled it right,’’ Keselowski said. “When it was all said and done, you always question it, you’re going to question yourself, that’s just normal. When I looked at her on the plane home and asked her if she was proud of the way I handled it and she said yes, I felt like mentally I was able to move on immediately.”

White delivered the couple’s first child, Scarlett, in May. Keselowski revealed in a blog last week that Scarlett faced a potentially life-threatening medical issue in June. Keselowski wrote that his daughter has recovered and doing well.

 

 

Truck series driver Cole Custer earns first career ARCA victory at Pocono

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He may have sat out the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race earlier in the day, but after watching Kyle Busch win that event, Truck series semi-regular Cole Custer went out and won the afternoon’s undercard ARCA race event, the ModSpace 125, at Pocono Raceway.

It was the third career ARCA start for Custer, surpassing his previous best finish of fifth earlier this season at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The 17-year-old Custer, who has one win in five Truck starts this season, captured the 50-lap ARCA event by 4.991 seconds over Grant Enfinger.

“It was just a great race for us today,” Custer, son of Stewart-Haas Racing executive Joe Custer, told Fox Sports 2. “I was just able to bide my time and keep things clean.”

Enfinger finished second, followed by Matt Kurzejewski, Austin Theriault and Josh Williams.

In addition to his first ARCA win, Custer also has four career victories in the K&N Pro East and West Series and two in the Truck series.

He becomes the ninth first-time winner in the ARCA Series this season, joining Blake Jones (Talladea), 15-year-old Todd Gilliland (son of NASCAR driver David Gilliland, at Toledo), Kyle Weatherman (New Jersey), Trevor Bayne (Pocono in June), Ross Kenseth (Michigan), Ryan Reed (Chicagoland), Austin Wayne Self (Winchester) and Travis Braden (Indianapolis).

The race began in rather dubious fashion as, coming off the Tunnel Turn on Lap 1, Kyle Weatherman got loose, piled into the car of Frank Kimmel, and then a number of other cars were collected as a result.

The biggest victim of the incident was Tom Hessert, who suffered heavy damage to his car, ultimately finishing 25th in the 30-car field.

But Hessert suffered even greater damage in the ARCA point standings. He entered Saturday’s race 70 points behind series leader Enfinger.

Hessert leaves Pocono now tied for third place with Austin Wayne Self, both drivers 185 points behind Enfinger.

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ARCA veteran Will Kimmel seeks to make first career Sprint Cup start Saturday at Kentucky

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ARCA Series veteran Will Kimmel will branch out and attempt to qualify for his first career Sprint Cup start this Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.

A veteran of Sellersburg, Indiana, which is an hour west of the racetrack, this will essentially be a home track race for Kimmel.

The 27-year-old will be driving for Go Green Racing, piloting the No. 32 Ford Fusion for team owner Archie St. Hilaire.

Kimmel is the son of eight-time ARCA crew chief champ Bill Kimmel, and the nephew of 10-time ARCA Racing Series champ Frank Kimmel.

While this will be Will Kimmel’s debut in the Sprint Cup Series, he has seen previous starts in the Xfinity Series (six races) and the Camping World Truck Series (one race).

Two of those races were at Kentucky, with a 15th place start in the Xfinity race there in 2011 (finished 35th), and a 21st place finish in his lone truck start there in 2010.

Kimmel is a veteran of 74 career ARCA starts, and has two prior starts at Kentucky, as well, with an average start of 5.5 and an average finish of 6.5.

Kimmel was involved in a spectacular crash nearly two months ago when his car flew off the track and landed in a parking lot of Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway. Kimmel was uninjured in the wreck.

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Xfinity points leader Chris Buescher is not in a hurry to get where he’s going

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In September 1992, country music band Alabama released its hit single, “I’m in a hurry (and I don’t know why).”

One month later, Chris Buescher was born.

Fast-forward to today and the Prosper, Texas, native is in the middle of his second Xfinity season. He leads the points, has earned three series wins heading into tonight’s race at Daytona International Speedway on NBCSN, and enjoyed a five-race stint earlier this year in the Sprint Cup Series as a replacement driver for Front Row Motorsports.

Despite that, the Roush Fenway Racing driver is not in a hurry to get to Cup and he knows exactly why.

“I have looked back through the years and you see guys and girls come up too quickly and maybe not in their minds – at the time they maybe thought it was the right move – but it seemed like more often than not if you got rushed into the next level and weren’t ready, that was your one shot,” Buescher said.

“I can think of several (drivers) in my head,  but I don’t want to call anybody out on it. I like the pace we have gone and it has been comfortable.”

Buescher’s lack of a rush is in contrast to that of Ty Dillon, who is second in points to Buescher. Despite only having one win in two seasons in the Xfinity Series (Indianapolis, 2014), Dillon and Childress are frequently asked when he will be in a full-time Cup ride.

“I think my progression through stock car racing has been a little bit slower than a lot of guys that are racing or have been racing, and I am okay with that,” Buescher said. “I like being able to get a lot of experience in each series before I transition into the next level.”

Buescher debuted in the Xfinity Series part-time in 2013 after spending four years and two full-time seasons in the ARCA Series, where he raced for the Roulo Brothers and earned 10 wins by 2013. By his last full season, Buescher, at 19, was joking with ARCA driver Frank Kimmel that they were the two veterans in the garage.

Kimmel is 53.

“I can count on one hand the amount of late model races I ran and on the other the amount of ASA Truck races I ran,” Buescher said. “That was the extent of my big car experience before ARCA. It was a big learning curve, but I feel like the amount of time spent there and what I learned with the Roulo Brothers carried over into the Xfinity side.”

Buescher said the plan to “take it easy” as his career escalated has been in place from the start. It also helps that the 22-year-old driver is learning with a solid foundation at Roush. Meanwhile, Dillon enters Saturday’s Firecracker 250 at Daytona with a new crew chief, Nick Harrison, after a mid-season swap.

“There is a comfort level from our side knowing we have a good group of guys that have been together since the beginning of last year,” said Buescher, who works with crew chief Scott Graves. “The majority of them are the same people. We had a couple guys come off the road due to building families but it has been neat to have a group of guys and build that chemistry and they have done a great job.”

Buescher’s doesn’t have anymore Sprint Cup races scheduled for this year and probably won’t know for several months what his plans are for 2016.

But with an Xfinity championship on the line, why start rushing now?