Back at Pocono, Mikey Kile had one of the most dominant cars ARCA racing has seen in recent memory, but still finished second when pit strategy snakebit the No. 25 team late in the going. One week later, Kile’s No. 25 team had pit strategy allow them to overcome Craig Goess‘s dominating machine at Michigan, and a first-career win was the prize. Now, third in the points and with arguably more momentum than any driver in the ARCA Racing Series, Kile sits poised to make a statement as the circuit heads to Iowa.
Bryan Davis Keith, Frontstretch: You dominate all day at Pocono, but Craig Goess was able to steal one from you that weekend. How does it feel to sort of return the favor to score your first win?
Mikey Kile: A win’s a win. We’ll take them any way we can get them. It sucks that it worked that way [having to steal a win late], but we kind of had one taken from us at Pocono. So to win one that way really didn’t upset me too much. You get one taken, take one from somebody else, everything’s kind of even now.
Keith: The win has you less than 100 points out of the lead right now. How big of a deal was it for your team to get the win and move back to the front of the title picture?
Kile: It was huge. All of the guys have been working hard the last few months, working late hours and nights into the morning. Lots of traveling and racing. Those last few weeks were hectic for everyone, so to get that win at Michigan gave everyone a boost to stay motivated and keep working hard. And there’s a lot more good things to come, with the work that everyone is putting in.
Keith: Your team won the last race before the ARCA Racing Series took about a month off. How big of an advantage is it to win that last event before you tackle Iowa?
Kile: That’s huge. We were able to enjoy it for a few weeks. At the same time though, everyone’s still hungry. Everybody wants to win more, and we expect to win more. It comes to a point where you’re ready to get back to the race track, to get back to winning.
Keith: Having a win under your belt, you’re in a very tight points race. How important for you and your team was it to get that first one, to get that monkey off your back?
Kile: Obviously, we’ve got great equipment and we’re expected to run up front. We also expect a lot of ourselves. We knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when. Now that we’ve got the first one under our belts, it’s always said that the first one is the toughest to get. Now we’re just going to keep racing the same way we have the past few weeks. We’re going to race the tracks, not anyone else. That’s what we’ve done the past few weeks, racing the tracks and avoiding other people’s wrecks, not worrying about where we’re running halfway through the race. We’re racing the track and being there at the end.
Keith: Your No. 25 team tested at Iowa Speedway earlier this week. How did that play out?
Kile: It went really well. The car drove well, and we were really consistent on the long runs. I was really fast compared to the times that I ran last year. I’m anxious to see how it goes, though, because we tested during the day and we’re going to race at night. It should be good though, the car is real consistent.
Keith: Your team has had three to four weeks to get everything together for the summer push of the ARCA schedule. Since you can’t prepare all of your cars that far in advance, what has your team been doing during this extended layoff?
Kile: First thing they did after getting back from Michigan was to take some time off and spend time with their families because they hadn’t seen them in forever. At the same time, they’ve been able to relax and not work so hard in terms of hours. They’ve been able to work some regular business hours and get everything caught up. We’ve got nine weeks in a row coming up, so they’ve got everything they can prepared so we’re not shorthanded or short on cars if something were to happen. The break has kind of kept us motivated to come to work, which happens when you’re running really well like we are.
Keith: You’ve kind of taken the lead in the Venturini Motorsports camp. Your teammate Steve Arpin was hot for a while, now they’ve cooled off some. Has that changed the dynamic in the shop at all?
Kile: No, because it doesn’t really matter if it’s the No. 25 or the No. 55 (Arpin’s car). They work on both my car and his car that you see at the racetrack. All of our cars are the same; it’s just that when you go to the racetrack you throw a different number and sponsor on the side of it. A win for us is a win for everybody, so Michigan was kind of a win for the No. 55 as well as for the No. 25. It’s a mutual thing.
Keith: Looking forward to the upcoming race at Iowa, Frank Kimmel is preparing to make his 400th career ARCA start. What can you say about the nine-time champ?
Kile: The ARCA Series wouldn’t be where it is today without him. And as far as 400 starts, he’s been racing forever. That’s huge. I just want to be able to have that many starts in my career. I mean, I have less than 50. 400 is a huge number and he’s a huge asset to the series. I have a lot of respect for him.
Keith: Looking at Iowa, your team is coming off a stretch where they really showed muscle on the intermediate tracks. Now you’re tackling a short-track and coming into a segment of the schedule that’s heavy on short-tracks and dirt tracks. What is the biggest challenge that you see racing Iowa and moving forward?
Kile: Staying out of trouble is the big thing. The cars are good enough and I think we’re good enough to run up front. But it’s a matter of staying up front and being patient. Like I said, not being around the wrecks, being there at the end when it counts. We’ve got to add all that up, run up front, stay out of trouble and get the best finish possible. The main thing is to finish races.
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