SALEM, Ind. (April 25, 2017) -- A Japanese restaurant isn't exactly the likeliest of meeting points for a southern Indiana stock car family and a diesel fuel systems company, but that's exactly how it happened. And that's why Will Kimmel will have some extra support at his home track Salem Speedway when the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 comes to life this Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30.
FASS Diesel Fuel Systems is sponsoring Kimmel for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards 101st showing at Salem.
The relationship was born one night…drum roll please…in a Japanese steak house in southern Indiana, of all places.
"I was actually eating at a Japanese steak house in Clarksville (Ind.) one night when Will Kimmel noticed my company apparel," said FASS President Brad Ekstam. "He came up and introduced himself. I was eating with a friend of mine who's a big NASCAR fan. My friend knew all about the Kimmels and that's how I found out about the family story. We ended up going to the shop that night, and it's history from there."
That chance encounter at the restaurant was actually three years ago.
"We got to talking over the last three years, and of course we had already met Will and his wife Erica. Met his father Bill. They're all just really good people, and that's what stands out the most to me. I liked Will the minute I met him. I have no idea what the return on investment will be but we've enjoyed Will and Erica so much that we just wanted to help them. We're going to help them throughout the year, and who knows, maybe this can continue year to year."
Meanwhile, back at the farm, Kimmel spent the day Monday testing at Salem.
"We're pretty happy with it," said Kimmel. "It was just nice to go there and be prepared, make changes and see how they affect the car. I feel like we're prepared for Sunday. It'll take about 20-25 laps for the race to come to us…to be as good as anybody else."
The Sellersburg, Indiana veteran is of course excited to race at his home track, but to add another sponsor to the mix makes it even better.
"We know we're very fortunate to have the support of FASS Diesel Fuel Systems," Kimmel said. "Brad and his wife are just really good people. I remember seeing him at the restaurant. I knew about FASS Fuel Systems and I knew they were in town for the big semi-truck show at the expo center…and I decided I was going to go talk to them. We hit it off…they came to the shop…we have a really good relationship."
Kimmel did what many don't do these days…he took his time with the relationship and didn't push too hard right off the bat.
"They're just super people. Even if no sponsorship would have developed, Erica and I have just enjoyed getting to know them. He's been kicking around the idea of sponsoring us and I wasn't pressing him, and I wasn't going to. Getting to know them was good enough for us. Then he said that maybe this is the year he could help and try and get something going here.
"They're just great people. Brad's wife is already working on some FASS Fuel baby clothes for little Will."
Kimmel's No. 69 FASS Diesel Fuel Systems Ford will also be sponsored by Extreme Trailers and Eddie Gilstrap Motors at Salem.
Kimmel matched his career-best ARCA finish at Salem, finishing second on the historic, high-banked short track in 2011. He also finished third at Salem in 2015.
The FASS Fuel Systems mission statement is short and sweet…
Provide excellent customer service and quality products! For more, visit fass-fuel-systems.com.