Veteran Barnes Leads Frank Kimmel Enduro Nationals Practice
Drivers readied for tonight's 150-mile Frank Kimmel Enduro Nationals event during a two-hour practice session under ideal race conditions at Kentucky Speedway this afternoon.
Local track veteran Chuck Barnes, Sr., from Louisville, Ky., stood atop the speed chart at the end of the session after putting together a 131.707-mph lap (41.1 seconds).
"This is the first time I've run a big track, but I'm used to running with a lot of cars and I know it doesn't take much to lose it out there.
"It's a brand new car that we built for this track and this race. We're going to run it other places, but we tried to dial it in for this event. My son's put a lot of time and a lot of pride into getting it ready, and right now we're pretty happy.
He will be looking for a clean trip through the 75-car starting field.
"The key to success is staying out of trouble and being there at the end. We're going to take it easy in the first segment (before the mandatory stop at the completion of Lap 50) and go for there. We'll probably still have to take it easy for the next 35 to 40 laps, but I think it's really going to come down to the last 10 laps and that's all speed," Barns said.
Sellersburg, Ind., driver John Collins was second fastest in the session with a 130.751-mph (41.3 seconds) circuit.
"The car handled okay. We have some carburetor issues right now which we don't quite have figured out, but I'm hoping to get it going a little faster tonight," he said.
He will take a patient approach to tonight's endurance test.
"You can't win if you go out (of the race) on the first lap or the second. To last, you have to be there at the end. I'm going to be cautious, keep the eyes open and not worry about controlling what other people do," Collins added.
Todd Kempf was third in the practice with a 130.435-mph (41.4 seconds) lap.
"The car's been a lot of work. We learned a lot about the aerodynamics and the transmission during our first runs. We've come back with a new transmission that seems to be running pretty good. It's a little loose, but other than that, if nobody gets into us, we should have a shot at it," Kempf said.
The Huntington, Ind., driver faces the challenge of adjusting his driving style to Kentucky Speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval.
"The track's a little different because it's hard to tell how fast you are sometimes. It doesn't feel like you're going that fast until you get spun out," he added. One-hundred-seventeen drivers registered for tonight's first-of-its-kind 100-lap event that will feature some of the top local racers in the country.
Drivers will take the green flag at 8:00 p.m. All tickets are $20 and available at the speedway main entrance up to race time. Children age 12 and younger will be admitted free.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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