As part of the Short Track Night of Champions at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Show, Ryan Kimball was honored for his 2014 Peterborough Speedway Championship on Saturday, March 14th. He also recieved the 2014 Ontario Comeback Driver of the Year Award for his accomplishments.
“I just can’t thank Wally Jenzen enough,” Kimball said. “I don’t actually own a racecar myself. I called Wally (Jenzen) up and asked if I could drive his car, have for the past two years. I wouldn’t be up here without him. I can’t say enough about the guy. He should be up here, not me.”
Kimball had been known as a solid competitor, having scored some top-notch wins over the previous years, including the 2011 Velocity 250 Pro Late Model victory and sitting on the pole in the ACT race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. However, he would find himself out of the seat due to funding, among other things. Looking to return behind the wheel, the opportunity came about with Jenzen.
“I basically called a bunch of people to get Wally Jenzen’s number – didn’t know him,” Kimball said. “I gave him a call and just asked if he’d mind me driving his car and he said to come pick it up. I told him it wasn’t really quite up to snuff so I changed a bunch of stuff so the car works great; it hasn’t been tore up or anything like that.”
Kimball was planning on running the full Sunset Speedway schedule in 2014, but that didn’t pan out as expected.
“I don’t have a big enough program, crew, truck, stuff like that to run with the best,” he shared. “Didn’t plan on running Peterborough either, but went there for the first night and won so we decided to keep coming back.”
The result of returning over the summer was success, as he would visit feature victory lane on a couple different occasions en route to scoring the championship. He also carried that momentum into the Autumn Colors Classic, running up front in both the Limited Late Model and Pro Late Model feature.
Driving Sean Grosman’s late model in the Pro Late event, he admitted that they struggled in practice a bit.
“Can’t say enough about Sean Grosman,” Kimball expressed. “He let me drive his 29 car – never drove it. We struggled in practice – things got one dirty built motor and is just not meant for Peterborough, but we worked away on it and got it really fast.”
Starting on the pole, Kimball would dominate, leading 102 of the 112 laps before losing the lead on a controversial late restart en route to finishing second.
“It was pretty good,” Kimball reflected. “We had a little bit of a bad run in the pro late there – was fast qualifier, led a bunch of laps – just couldn’t seem to get it done on the last restart, I suppose. The car was phenomenal.”
He then went into the Limited Late Model feature, taking the lead early behind the wheel of the No. 73 for Jenzen, and dominating en route to victory.
“Started third in the limited late model race and got the lead on lap three,” he commented. “I had a lot of competition up there. I figured Dwayne Baker would be coming. I kept looking in the mirror – the spotter kept saying they were struggling back there. Jason Parker was on the outside of me, but I was able get the win.”
Kimball added that the win meant a lot to him with Jenzen being in attendance.
“Wally Jenzen doesn’t usually come out all year, and I bug him,” Kimball commented. “I can usually text him on a Monday and he usually gets back to be me within three, four weeks. That’s the only weekend that they actually come out to the race so it meant a lot them and their kids – it was absolutely phenomenal.”
“I’m not too sure with what we’re doing this year. The program is to look after Sean,” Kimball commented. “The 73 (Jenzen’s LLM) is going to be ready, the 29 (Grosman’s LLM) is just about ready, and headed down tonight to get the FLF Super Late Model.”
Some people may say that the move isn’t the best heard move in the racing world, but says it works out perfectly for him due to the financial sitaution.
“It’s not going to cost me anything,” he stated. “It’s like anybody wants to race full-time but can’t. You’ve got Andrew Kamrath – the kid can wheel a car, but unfortunately, he’s running the Mini, but he could jump in a late model tomorrow and run up front. We just don’t have the finances to run Late Model, even though I have one given to me.
“I’m just going to sit back this year and maybe we’ll come back the year after. We’ll see.”