Illinois: Race report

Kimmel Unprecedented King of the Illinois Clay SPRINGFIELD IL (8-19-07) -- To be an ARCA RE/MAX Series national champion, it's helpful to be good on clay. Eight-time series champion Frank Kimmel, in the Fort Dodge Animal Health-Pork Ford, proved...

Kimmel Unprecedented King of the Illinois Clay

SPRINGFIELD IL (8-19-07) -- To be an ARCA RE/MAX Series national champion, it's helpful to be good on clay. Eight-time series champion Frank Kimmel, in the Fort Dodge Animal Health-Pork Ford, proved that again Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds with a convincing victory in the 45th Allen Crowe 100.

The win represented his 70th career series triumph overall and sixth win on the Springfield mile-dirt in his last eight attempts on the historic fairgrounds oval.

"It was awesome," said Kimmel. "I don't think we've ever had a car better than that. What a great field of cars, great competition and Michael (McDowell) did a super job, which I knew he would. We had to be on our game to stay out ahead of them and every restart the car just kept getting better and better. We just kept fooling with it and fooling with it in practice. Bill (crew chief/brother) worked on the stagger and trying to get the tires exactly where we wanted it; and it just went great. We'll take the car home, clean it up and go again."

Kimmel, who started from the pole after qualifying was rained out, gave up the lead just once when he pitted for fuel only on lap 13. Once he regained the lead back from Ron Cox on lap 55, the Clarksville, Indiana driver drove away from runner-up finisher Michael McDowell, who finished second more than six seconds back in his first dirt track attempt.

"I was working hard," said McDowell, who pitted at the same time as Kimmel. "This is my first ever dirt race. I have to thank Eddie Sharp Racing for giving me a great car, and Z-Line Design, the Make A Wish Foundation and Mission Residential for getting behind me. For us to come run second to Frank on the dirt, that's a win. I feel really great about this team. We pitted on lap 13 and finished the rest of the race on one set of tires. We didn't take tires at all, we pitted for fuel only. So I think that might have hurt us."

Cox, after leading 41 laps in the BGR-John Hay Cigars Pontiac, had to settle for a ninth place finish after the team pitted late, out of sequence with the leaders, which placed the Soddy Daisy, Tennessee driver well back in the line-up with 33 laps to go. Cox was the only driver, outside of Kimmel, to lead laps.

Indiantown, Florida driver Patrick Sheltra, who also pitted when Kimmel did, finished a career-best third in the US Construction-Concrete Products Chevrolet.

"We love these old dirt tracks," said Sheltra. "This is where I come from. It sucks that we didn't get to qualify today. The weather had a play on that. We would have had a good car for qualifying but we started ninth and ended up third. It was a pretty good run. I had a good car in traffic but the right front tire was gone and I couldn't do anything with them at the end."

Justin Marks, also making his first start on dirt, turned his season around with a solid fourth place finish in the Crocs Dodge. Westby, Wisconsin's Dexter Bean finished fifth in the Five Star Telecom Chevrolet.

Hometown Springfield favorite Kelly Kovski finished a career-best sixth in the Levi Home Construction-Aspen Real Estate Chevrolet ahead of rookie James Buescher, who finished seventh in the Red Line Oil Dodge.

Ken Schrader, subbing for the injured Bob Strait in the Hendren Motorsports entry, charged from 37th to eighth in the final running order earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions. Phillip McGilton, also making his first dirt track attempt, finished 10th in the Brewco Motorsports-SI Performance Ford.

In all, there were five cautions for 25 laps during the 100-lap, 100-mile race with 13 drivers finishing on the lead lap. No one was injured.

-credit: arca

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Ken Schrader , Frank Kimmel , Michael McDowell , Ron Cox , Justin Marks , Phillip McGilton , Dexter Bean , Patrick Sheltra , James Buescher