Kimmel KOs Competition at Kansas KANSAS CITY KS (7-1-06) - Seven-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, in the ...
Kimmel KOs Competition at Kansas
KANSAS CITY KS (7-1-06) - Seven-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, in the #46 Pork The Other White Meat Ford, used pit strategy and patience to win Saturday's Kansas Lottery $200 Grand at Kansas Speedway.
Kimmel also out-dueled an impressive assortment of driver development teams to earn his 66th career RE/MAX Series victory in his 312th series start. The victory also made Kimmel the first repeat RE/MAX Series winner at Kansas after six events at the 1.5-mile speedplant.
"It's pretty awesome to be the winningest driver at Kansas Speedway," said Kimmel. "This is a really special race track for us because the National Pork Board entertains so many of their producers at this race track and they have made this something of their home track. We probably had 200 Pork producers attending the event today and it was great to have a bunch of them in victory lane with us."
The victory also allowed Kimmel to become the first repeat winner of 2006 after nine events on the 23-race tour.
With less than 10 laps remaining, and only five cars on the lead lap, Kimmel charged onto pit road during the final caution for four fresh tires while race leaders' Mario Gosselin and Brad Coleman stayed out. Gosselin's transmission broke on the restart while Kimmel, who had restarted third, quickly moved by Coleman for the lead on lap 127 of the 134-lap race. Erin Crocker, who came with Kimmel on pit road with the same strategy in mind, also passed Coleman for second but had nothing for Kimmel, who drove away from the pack winning by a 2.214 second margin.
Gosselin, who 29 laps late in the race, was pulling away from the pack before the transmission failed. "We broke a transmission," said Gosselin, who finished a disappointing 22nd. "I guess it all goes back to needing a sponsor. Transmissions need attention and looked at all the time and we've been running this one for a while now."
Crocker, in Ray Evernham's Hamburger Helper Dodge, became the first female driver in series history to earn two second place finishes, despite a spin on lap 60.
"I was hoping that we'd catch Frank there," said Crocker. "We were able to pick up four fresh tires on that final pit stop which helped us. But we probably tightened the car up a little too much."
Coleman, who had earned his career second Pork Pole award earlier in the weekend and led one lap during the event, settled for third. His crew chief, Shawn Parker, earned the SK Hand Tool Crew Chief of the Race award.
"Basically we got outsmarted pretty quick with Frank and all we had," said Coleman. "We were running with tires that were 40 laps older than his. Still, top-five finishes are pretty good."
Brett Rowe, the 2005 ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series champion, finished a career best fourth in the No. 90 31-W Insulation-Imperial Bedding Chevrolet and led nine laps.
"Everybody did a great job this week," said Rowe. "The main thing is we stayed out of trouble. We were hoping for a top-10 finish so it was awesome to get a top-5. I have to thank the Lord for a safe race and everything that he gives me."
Steve Wallace, who had led the first 39 laps of the race, finished fifth, one lap down. The young racing legacy lost a lap pitting under green in his No. 61 Nu-South Lemonade-Hantz Group Dodge to take on four tires and gas.
Scott Lagasse Jr., who is part of a driver development program for Cunningham Motorsports and Dodge, suffered a similar fate. Lagasse led 43 laps of the 134-lap race, leading by as much as five seconds at times. However, he ran out of fuel on lap 97 and broke a transmission, effectively ending his day.
"We lost a clutch early on and ran out of fuel," said Lagasse. "When the fuel light came on I had just crossed the start finish line. The crew told me to come in and I ran out by the time I got around. I tried to fire it back up and we lost the transmission. We had a really, really good car. The car is in one piece, so we'll pack it up and take it to Kentucky next week. The guys did an awesome job."
In addition to leading the most laps, Lagasse posted the quickest lap of the day, circling Kansas Speedway at 163.716 mph on lap 76 to earn the Hurst Fastest Lap of the Race award.
Bobby Gerhart, in the DriWashRacing.com Chevrolet, was able to finish sixth, one lap down. He still leads the series championship point standings over Kimmel by 90 points.
Todd Bowsher earned Hoosier Hard Charger honors for eleventh after starting 27th in his No. 21 Safe Auto Insurance Ford.
With temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit all weekend, the 200-mile event took two hours to complete and was delayed by 10 cautions.