Record Banquet Attendees Witness Crowning Of King Kimmel COVINGTON KY, 12-8-01 -- A record 550 people turned up Saturday night at the luxurious Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky for the 49th annual ARCA RE/MAX Series ...
Record Banquet Attendees Witness Crowning Of King Kimmel
COVINGTON KY, 12-8-01 -- A record 550 people turned up Saturday night at the luxurious Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky for the 49th annual ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship awards banquet ceremony.
And while three-time RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel walked off with the lion's share, a record $700,000 was doled out among the top-20 teams, all of which were recognized on stage during the most elaborate and eloquent banquet production to date.
With series title sponsor RE/MAX International adding its corporate touch as well as its production resources and expertise, Kimmel and car owner Larry Clement were official crowned 2001 champions by renowned television broadcaster and emcee Rick Benjamin while runner-up points finisher Jason Jarrett was recognized as the ARCA Rookie of the Year. In addition, Jarrett's grandfather Ned Jarrett was on hand for the celebration and spoke as special guest during the ceremony.
In all, Kimmel was awarded $180,000 in team earnings bringing his total for the year to well more than a half-million while his career total rose to $1.8 million.
"It was a dream season for Tri-State Motorsports," said Kimmel on stage. "When you've got the best sponsors, the best owners, the best equipment combined with the best crew, great things are going to happen; and it showed big here. We love the ARCA RE/MAX Series; we're proud to be here; we're proud to be Americans and certainly proud to be the 2001 champions. With Advance Auto Parts and Pork The Other White Meat coming back for next year, we have every intention of defending our title. Look forward to seeing all of you in Daytona."
In addition to Kimmel's championship check presented by RE/MAX Int'l VP Randy Morse, car owners Clement and ET Sharp received a healthy sum from Hoosier Performance Racing Tire as the 2001 Superspeedway Challenge Car Owner champions. Among a portion of Kimmel's cash prizes was the $10,000 Loctite Halfway Leader award, the $6,000 76 Performance Products honors, the $5,000 Old Milwaukee Beer Pole Award and the $5,000 National Pork Board prize. Kimmel also won the prestigious Bill France Triple Crown Award for having the highest average finish at three very diverse venues: the Talladega Superspeedway, the Springfield, Illinois dirt-mile and the Salem Speedway short-track. Also, 1995 RE/MAX Series champion Andy Hillenburg presented Kimmel with the Fast Track High Performance award for great performance throughout. Plus, Kimmel received cash and awards from Carolina Motorsports, Maurtco Powder Coating, Damon RV, Thermo Tec, Rhyne Racing Engines, Lincoln Welders, Racing Electronics, Nelson Specialties, Motive Gear and CV Products.
While Kimmel and Clement took top honors in the driver/owner category, Kimmel's crew chief and brother Bill Kimmel was awarded the Cornwell Quality Tools Crew Chief of the Year honors for the second consecutive season as well as the Clevite/Victor Reinz Engine Builder of the Year award.
Jarrett, who announced in a press conference earlier that day he would be returning to RE/MAX Series competition with ML Motorsports in 2002, walked off with more than $60,000 in team earnings including his ARCA Rookie of the Year prize as well as point fund money for finishing second. Jarrett joins Kimmel, Jeremy Mayfield, Davey Allison and Benny Parsons as past recipients of the ARCA Rookie of the Year Award. In addition, Jarrett's car owner Mary Louise Miller received the QuicShine 99 Best Appearing Car award.
In other special awards, Herb Adcox, father of the late Grant Adcox, presented NASCAR legend James Hylton, who finished 13th in car owner points, with the HG Adcox Sportsmanship award while engine builder Joe Rhyne was presented with the ARCA Spirit award for outstanding contribution. The Ford Motor Company won the RE/MAX Series manufacturers championship.
Second-generation driver Todd Bowsher, who finished sixth in driver points, picked up the Reed Cams Most Improved Driver award while 99 ARCA Rookie of the Year Ron Cox, who finished 4th in driver points, was the Hoosier Performance Tire Hard Charger award winner for advancing the most positions throughout the '01 season. Cox also won the Ohlins Shock award. ARCA president Ron Drager, grandson of ARCA founder John Marcum, presented long-time ARCA marketing director Jim Clarke with the prestigious Marcum Award for his lifelong contributions and sacrifices to the motorsports community.