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First Date With Dirt Won’t Be Real Comfortable

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 12 2013

Smoking the tires will be just one of the challenges facing the person who wins the Camping World Truck race at Eldora later this month. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

On July 24th, NASCAR Camping World Truck racing fans will get to see how their drivers do on dirt as the series heads to the Eldora Speedway short track in Ohio to compete in the inaugural Midsummer Classic.

A guy who knows quite a bit about Eldora and even more about dirt racing says the truckers are in for some surprises when they get to the Rossburg track for the Wednesday night show.

“I think it’s going to be a big challenge for the teams and drivers,” Tony Stewart, owner of half-mile clay oval said this week. “Obviously never ran the trucks on dirt. When we went and did the test there, we actually battled a little bit of weather ourselves. The track conditions were very, very sticky.

“But I think when the track slicks off there, it will slow the pace down a little bit, make it a little more comfortable for some of those guys. Even though it sounds like slicker would be more trouble, I think when the pace slows down due to a slick track like that, they’ll run more like pavement, they’ll run straighter through the corners and not sideways as much.

“But I think they’ll enjoy it. It’s a neat facility. Like I say, it’s well-lit, it’s a wide racetrack, it gives you a lot of options of where you can go and what you can do. I think it gives those guys an opportunity. The practice day on Tuesday should help a lot of those teams be able to get acclimated before they come back to the track on Wednesday.”

The toughest assignment could go to the winner.  Producing a good, smoking burnouts on dirt is not that easy.

Frank Kimmel refuses to act his age. At a time in life – 51 years old – when he should be slowing down, he just keeps motoring along and no this is not a Viagra advertisement.

Kimmel, who has won 79 ARCA races during his career, is driving a 23rd season in the series. He  has won three times already this year and he sits atop the point standings.

And this weekend, he will climb in to a Camping World Truck for the first time since 2004. It will be the No. 13 Toyota Tundra of Thorsport Racing and it will be at Iowa Speedway.

“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.”

In his previous 12 starts in the series, he has two top-10 finishes. The best of those was eighth, which he got at Daytona in 2004. He was driving a truck owned by Bob Keselowski in that race.

Kimmel’s has shown top consistency in ARCA since joining ThorSport for the 2012 season. 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.

James Hylton has had just about enough.

The 78-year-old Hylton will retire from driving race cars after the ARCA race in Chicago later this month.

“I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while,” Hylton said. “I’m 78, and the time has come.”

Hylton made 602 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts since 1964, winning twice at Talladega and Richmond. After finishing in the top-10 Cup points in 10 of 12 seasons, Hylton embarked on a new career in the ARCA Racing Series, where he’s called home for the last 17 years. He’ll make his 157th ARCA start at Chicagoland.

“When my NASCAR career came to a close, ARCA welcomed me with open arms. I love ARCA – it’s home to me. I have come to gain a great deal of respect for what the series represents. I still love to race, and I can’t wait to get on the track at Chicagoland.”

Born on the family farm in Roanoke County Virginia in 1934, right in the middle of America’s Great Depression, he was one of 13 children. His father, Preston, farmed and found additional work supervising prisoners who built roads as part of the chain gang while his mother Sammy managed 13 kids as best she could.

After a short stint as a mechanic for NASCAR champion Rex White, and then a champion crew chief for Ned Jarrett, Hylton decided he would give up the crew chief role and get back to the business of driving.

“I appreciate it when somebody comes up and tells me they remember me from the old days.”

He also holds the distinction of being the oldest driver to race in all three of NASCAR’s highest divisions, and of course, he holds that title in ARCA too. He made his 750th career professional stock car start at Pocono last August.

Adrian Carriers Racing announced today the signing a four-race agreement with driver Steve Wallace to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Wallace, the 26 year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer, Rusty Wallace, will take the wheel of the #97 Adrian Carriers / Liz Girl Logistics Chevrolet for the first time this Saturday in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway.

The younger Wallace has raced in all three of NASCAR’s National Series, including a top-20 finish in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at the 2011 Daytona 500. He finished among the top-ten in NASCAR Nationwide Series points from 2009-2011 and won the inaugural ARCA event at Iowa in 2006.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, July 12 2013
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