By Jim Clarke, Kawartha Speedway PR/Clarke Motorsports Communications
It hasn’t come to the extreme of tearing apart couch cushions or collecting empty bottles, but Ryan Kimball is looking for change. After enduring a few frustrating seasons running an older chassis in Kawartha Speedway’s NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model division, the Norwood, Ontario racer will head into the 2012 campaign at the controls of new McColl Racing Enterprises machine. Making the change to an updated piece is more than just jumping behind the wheel and taking the green flag. There are long hours in the shop before getting to that point.
Kimball’s fresh ride has already been assembled and then taken apart to have some of the components powder coated. The frame, cage and related components now need to be prepped for Kawartha’s season opener Friday, June 1st. The driver and crew member Graham Annis are burning the midnight oil putting the finishing touches on the car, including adding the engine and transmission from last year’s 8th place finisher, securing the body panels and designing this year’s graphics package. Kimball says he’d be lost without help he’s received from Annis.
“Graham’s been involved with racing for many years and has helped a number of different drivers along the way,” said Kimball. “The full-time fabricator and welder at Kerr Industries in Oshawa has been making the hour long trip from Newcastle to our shop a few times a week. When we get everything finished, we’ll probably have spent about a thousand hours working behind the scenes...and that’s before we get to turn a lap on the track.”
With top 10 point finishes in each of his 4 seasons in Kawartha’s headline division, the 2010 most improved driver award to his credit and the confidence boost of a 100 lap late model win last year at Sunset Speedway, Kimball is still chasing an elusive main event checkered flag at his hometown track. While he can do some of the maintenance on the car, Kimball’s time to shine happens behind the wheel and with new equipment at his disposal; the 28 year-old employee of Black and MacDonald says he hopes this could be a breakthrough season.
“After winning the thunder car crown in 2002, I know what it takes to succeed and earning one championship just makes you hungry for another. Capturing the late model title at the Fraserville facility means a guaranteed starting spot for the American Canadian Tour invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September,” said Kimball. “Dan (McHattie) has been there for the last 3 years and while I have a ton of respect for everything he’s done and the information he has shown for all of the late model runners over the years, it might just be time for a changing of the guard.”
Racing success – even at the short track level – doesn’t come without a price. Ryan Kimball figures it costs about $1,000 a night to field a competitive team and for the new season, he’s added support from Adam Simmonds of Flat Rate Realty and Johnny on the Spot to compliment the backing he’s received from long-time sponsors Larry Crowe at Trail’s End, E. Carter Concrete, Archer Trucking, Mayhew Graphics, Benson Auto Parts, Heather Wiebe Photography and Reaction Sportswear. Behind the scenes, help from his father Bill along with crew members, family and friends Brent, Steve, Tim, Nate, Krystal, Jen and Markis will keep the #16 car on the track.
Kimball says this year’s car will also feature a tribute to honour the memory of Mike Johnson, a freelance videographer from Lindsay, Ontario who was a Kawartha Speedway fixture for a number of years and a strong promoter of local stock car racing. Johnson passed away in December of 2011.
Kawartha klips: Kawartha Speedway’s 2012 race action gets started with an open practice Friday, May 25th. The first night for track points is Friday, June 1st. Fans can see the complete schedule and the latest off-season news anytime at www.kawarthaspeedway.com.
Photo attachment: Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications
Norwood, Ontario’s Ryan Kimball will enter Kawartha Speedway’s 2012 NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model action with a brand new McColl Racing Enterprises chassis.
Prepared by: Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications
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