(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - February 19, 2012) - Frank Kimmel powered through a field of packed cars at the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards opener at Daytona as high as eighth position, but was handed an unfortunate penalty post-race.
The No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry, after crossing the checkers in eighth, was scored in the 23rd position by the tower due to driving below the yellow line to avoid competitors running out of fuel ahead of him.
Hoping to start the season on a high note, Kimmel took the green flag from the 17th position. He fought his way through the pack into the top ten within seven laps, when the race's first caution flag dropped at lap 9. The team decided to take fuel only as Kimmel radioed to the crew that the car felt good.
Rolling back out in 16th, Kimmel showed his veteran on-track muscle through two more cautions - teaming up with rookie driver Max Gresham on a few occassions to push through the field to crack the top 10. At lap 68, when the fourth caution flag of the race flew for a crash in turn two, Kimmel and crew chief Jeriod Prince made the call to come in for fuel. As other leaders took the gamble and stayed out, the No. 44 took a six-second splash and emerged in the 15th spot.
Again teaming up with young Gresham, the two motored through the pack to a wild finish - as the top leaders ran out of fuel on the frontstretch to the checkered flag, competitors were left with no choice but to be involved in the ensuing crashes or move below the yellow. Kimmel crossed the finish in the eighth position, however tower control made the call on the No. 44 and two other cars to be scored at the end of the lead lap vehicles due to "advancing position."
"This definitely wasn't the way we wanted to end this race, it is an unfortunate situation," said Kimmel. "We had a good car in practice and the guys really worked their tails off to get this Daytona setup ready for us. This team just became a team six weeks ago, so it's a testament to their hard work that we could bring it home in the top ten. I understand the ruling, and again, it's unfortunate, but it is the sanctioning body's decision. We learned a lot today, and the positive is, we're that much more close as a team going into Mobile in March. We'll get after it there!"