CINCINNATI, OH, 12-9-00 -- 2000 ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, for the second time in three seasons, collected the lion's share of the $500,000-plus in year-end awards distributed at the 2000 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series awards banquet here Saturday night at the Regal Cincinnati Hotel in downtown Cincinnati, then announced that he would return to defend his title.
"I think this championship means more to us than our championship in 1998," said Kimmel from the stage of the Grand Ballroom. "It's hard to believe that the competition is that much tougher than it was just two years ago, but the truth is, it's a lot tougher, and it will be even more competitive next year. I'd like to thank the Bondo/Mar-Hyde Corporation for playing a big part in getting this series to where it is today. And as they get ready to depart as the series sponsor, it's reassuring to know that RE/MAX is joining the ARCA family as the new title sponsor. I know they'll grow this thing even bigger than it already is. We couldn't do it without our partners and sponsors -- Advance Auto Parts, who I'm proud to say will be returning for the 2001 season as will the National Pork Producers. Thanks to the best car owner in the business Larry Clement, ET Sharp who supplies and takes care of our transporter, to my brother and crew chief Bill who sacrifices his own driving career to help make this a championship caliber team, and to the hardest working, most dedicated crew in ARCA today; this championship is for them. With everything I have in me, I am truly blessed and proud to be the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series national champion, and we'll definitely be back bigger and better next year. We'll see you in Daytona."
Kimmel and company carried off over $130,000 in year-end monies including point fund contributions from Bondo/Mar-Hyde, the National Pork Producers Council, 76 Racing Gas, Hoosier Racing Tire, Fastlane Footwear, Sportec Mugs, Motive Gear, Racing Electronics, Maurtco Powder Coating, Lincoln Electric, Lowe Lug Nuts, Harris Torches & Regulators and CV Products. In addition, Kimmel's brother Bill Kimmel won the Cornwell Tools Crew Chief of the Year honors and the Clevite-Victor Reinz Engine Builder of the Year award.
Plymouth, Indiana driver Brian Ross, who finished fourth in points, picked up the Prestone ARCA Rookie of the Year honors as well as the Auto Value Halfway Leader award.
Championship runner-up driver
and car owner
@!Mark Thompson saw their efforts net their team over $50,000 in awards which included the ARCA Superspeedway Challenge Championship for accumulating the most points on superspeedways and the Ohlins Shock award.
After missing the Daytona season-opener, three-time ARCA champion Tim Steele walked off the stage with third place accolades which included ARCA's prestigious Bill France Triple Crown award for accumulating the most points at Talladega Superspeedway, the Salem short-track and the Springfield dirt mile. Steele also won the Talladega Pole Award for his four poles in 2000, more than any other driver.
Lebanon, Pennsylvania veteran Bobby Gerhart was honored as fifth in points with additional awards to include the Fast Track High Performance and Prestone Advanced Formula honors. Shawna Robinson, who became the first female driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history to ever finish in the top-ten in points, was recognized as the sixth place driver while her Michael Kranefuss team was honored with the QuicShine 99 Best Appearing Car award. Maurtco Powder Coating teammates !Mark Gibson and Joe Cooksey were honored as seventh and eighth respectively while Norm Benning took home hardware for finishing ninth. In addition, the Level Cross, Pennsylvania driver won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger award for the second consecutive season. Andy Belmont rounded out the coveted top-ten point finishers with tenth place honors, his third consecutive season finishing in the top-ten.
Other awards presented included the ARCA Motorsports Media award to Chet Burks Productions, the Reed Cams Most Improved Driver to Damon Lusk, the HG Adcox Sportsmanship honors to car owner Wayne Hixson and the Spirit Award to Don Stanley. The Bondo/Mar-Hyde Corporation won the prestigious Marcum award for its six-year contribution as ARCA's title sponsor.
Next activity for ARCA RE/MAX Series teams will be testing at Daytona Int'l Speedway December 15, 16 & 17 in preparation for the Feb. 11 Discount Auto Parts 200 presented by AC Delco.