Kentucky: Race report

Kimmel captures Kentucky. SPARTA KY (5-11-02) Frank Kimmel capped off a wild night of racing Saturday night under the lights at Kentucky Speedway with a victory in the Channel 5-155. With a stand-alone crowd of 30,000 looking on, Kimmel passed...

Kimmel captures Kentucky.

SPARTA KY (5-11-02) Frank Kimmel capped off a wild night of racing Saturday night under the lights at Kentucky Speedway with a victory in the Channel 5-155.

With a stand-alone crowd of 30,000 looking on, Kimmel passed race leader Chad Blount with less than 10 laps remaining and then fought off the determined Blount to earn his 36th career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory and third consecutive on the tour. In addition, it was Kimmel's third consecutive win at the Sparta, Kentucky speedplant.

"It was a great race," said Kimmel. "We love coming here. I thought it was a great crowd for an ARCA stand-alone race. Chad Blount treated me super clean. We never touched. The Advance Auto Part-Pork Ford was wound up tonight."

Blount, with three laps remaining, took one final run at Kimmel in turn one. The 22-year-old Walkerton, Indiana rookie drove inside of the eventual winner through the corner but Kimmel carried more steam off on the high side and drove away down the backstretch. Blount, who missed out on an Atlanta win earlier this year by .001 seconds, trailed Kimmel across the final stripe by less than three-tenths of a second.

"We seemed to have a little better car than him (Kimmel) the last couple of laps but I didn't want to get my first win having to rough somebody up," said Blount. "I'm used to clean racing and that's the way I want to keep it. Second is a pretty decent."

Blount, in Todd Braun's unsponsored Dodge Intrepid, had a five-length advantage over Kimmel with less than ten laps remaining and appeared to be headed toward his career-first victory. However, it all changed when lapped traffic spun directly in front of the leaders off turn two with nine laps remaining.

"It was a situation where I was in the right place at the right time," said Kimmel. "He (Blount) was three or four car lengths ahead of me and had already made his decision to go to the outside of a lapped car. When they started wrecking, he was already committed to the second groove and that opened up the bottom for me."

Jason Rudd, in only his second superspeedway start, finished a very respectable third in the Graybar Electric Dodge giving Dodge second and third in the final running order. Old Milwaukee polesitter John Metcalf bounced back from a disastrous pit stop to finish fourth in the RE/MAX Int'l Chevrolet. Andy Belmont, with new sponsorship from Wheel Control, charged from the 21st starting position to finish a solid fifth.

Nine cautions for 38 laps for a variety of wrecks, spins and wall-bangers kept the field tightly bunched throughout the 155-mile event while eight lead changes among four drivers kept things fairly busy up front. Outside polesitter Kimmel, who won the Loctite Halfway Leader award, led the most laps with 72 followed by Belmont with 16. Blount led 12 while AJ Henriksen led four. Belmont was also the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger of the race for advancing the most positions while Blount earned Highest Finishing Rookie honors. Ron Cox, who was running fourth late in the race in the Buffalo Wild Wings Chevrolet, was awarded the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award after being involved in an accident with a lapped car. There were no injuries.

Dutch-born driver Michael Vergers finished sixth in the BruichLaddich.com Ford ahead of veteran Mark Gibson in the Williams Brothers Lumber Ford in seventh. 16-year-old Shelby Howard, in the iHigh.com Chevrolet, continued to impress with a solid eighth while Damon Lusk, in the Dynatek-One Race America Chevy, nursed a broken transmission home in ninth. Billy Venturini, in the Jeff Wyler Chevrolet, rounded out the top-ten.

In addition to the healthy crowd in attendance, the event was carried live on Speed Channel as well as live on the local Cincinnati, Ohio-based NBC affiliate WLWT. WLWT was also the title sponsor of the event.

CURRENT TOP-10 POINTS: 1. Frank Kimmel 1300; 2. Damon Lusk 1265; 3. Chad Blount 1260; 4. Jason Jarrett 1060; 5. Shelby Howard 1040; 6. Andy Belmont 1005; 7. Chase Montgomery 980; 8. Todd Bowsher 970; 8. Billy Venturini 970; 10. Mark Gibson 960.

-ARCA-

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Michael Vergers , Chase Montgomery , Jason Jarrett , Shelby Howard , Billy Venturini , Damon Lusk , Ron Cox , Mark Gibson , Todd Bowsher , John Metcalf , Jason Rudd
Teams Williams