Frank Kimmel, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship leader and three-time winner this season, will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in nine years, this weekend for ThorSport Racing in Saturday's American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway.
Kimmel, who won a record-tying 79th career ARCA victory on June 30 at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in a No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota Camry, will drive a No. 13 Toyota Tundra with a primer-gray paint scheme typical to the No. 13 this season, highlighted with Menards' signature Day-Glo orange "swoosh" stripes with an identical Ansell / Menards sponsorship package in the Truck race, led by crew chief Jeriod Prince and his ThorSport ARCA team, which is based on the shores of Lake Erie, west of Cleveland.
Kimmel has 12 career Truck Series starts, the most recent in 2004 for owner Bob Keselowski, for whom he had his career-best eighth-place finish that season, at Daytona. While Kimmel's won four of his nine ARCA championships since that last Truck Series race, he did have one Truck attempt since then.
"ThorSport and I have got some unfinished business in the Truck Series," Kimmel said. "We tried to make the 2011 season finale at Homestead when Johnny Sauter had a shot to win the championship and we were trying to support that effort. But even though Jeriod had a truck that was fast enough in practice to make the race, qualifying got rained-out and we had no owner points, so we sat that one out."
Kimmel is a guaranteed starter at Iowa thanks to his truck being tied for 16th in the series' owners' standings. ThorSport's No. 13 truck was driven in the series' first seven races by Todd Bodine and in its last race by NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title contender Brett Moffitt of Grimes, Iowa, who has a conflicting K&N race this weekend while the Trucks race at his home track.
The opportunity for Kimmel, who currently holds a 175-point lead in the ARCA championship after 10 of 21 races, to step into ThorSport's Tundra at Iowa is particularly apt. The Clarksville, Ind., native has six consecutive top-seven ARCA finishes at the .875-mile Corn-belt oval in seven career starts, including a win in 2007. Kimmel's average ARCA finish at Iowa is 8.6.
"The Camping World Truck Series is a reflection of not only where I came from in my racing career, but where a lot of drivers got their start," Kimmel said. "Iowa Speedway is the perfect place to come back to the series because a driver can get his elbows up, get up on the wheel and make a difference getting around the racetrack."
Kimmel's consistency in ARCA since joining ThorSport for the 2012 season is remarkable. This season he's the only ARCA driver with 10 top-10 finishes in the first 10 races. Kimmel's on a current string of 20 consecutive top 10s, stretching back to the middle of 2012.
"My guys at ThorSport have done a great job with my Ansell / Menards Toyota Camrys all season in ARCA," Kimmel said. "Jeriod and Rich (Lushes, truck/car chief) have brought great cars and trucks to the track all season and I can't wait to get their Toyota Tundra on the racetrack at Iowa."
Kimmel was already scheduled to be in Iowa to coordinate the running of a 200-lap Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals race on Friday.
The Truck Series has two practices on Friday, from 3-4:55 p.m. ET and from 6-8 p.m. Truck Happy Hour is on Saturday from 12:30-2:30 p.m. A Truck Series driver autograph session is scheduled outside the main grandstands from 3:30-4:15 p.m., with all three ThorSport drivers scheduled to participate.
Truck Series' qualifying is at 6 p.m. ET, with tape-delayed coverage on the SPEED Channel at 7 p.m. American Ethanol 200 coverage begins with The Setup pre-race show at 8 p.m. with the season's ninth race at 8:30. MRN Radio has live coverage, also beginning at 8.
Pre-race and the race telecast are scheduled to replay on SPEED Friday at 11 p.m. ET.