Kimmel Conquers Talladega....Finally TALLADEGA AL (10-6-06)--It took him a little while to get there, but ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Frank Kimmel can now include himself among the list of race winners at Talladega Superspeedway. Kimmel, who is...
Kimmel Conquers Talladega....Finally
TALLADEGA AL (10-6-06)--It took him a little while to get there, but ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Frank Kimmel can now include himself among the list of race winners at Talladega Superspeedway. Kimmel, who is well on his way to claiming the 2006 national points championship, led six laps in his No. 46 Pork the Other White Meat Ford to win the race-shortened Food World 250 Friday afternoon. The victory marked his 68th career series triumph and first-ever on a restrictor plate track.
"It was a great night, actually a great weekend," said Kimmel. "First of all they did a really good job with the repaving. We decided to pit for four tires late in the race. I got to thank Mike Wallace; he won the race for us by pushing us there on the outside. This is awesome. The people at Talladega have always been so good to us, and to win the first Friday night race is pretty exciting. You know, I hated it that the race had to end early, but then again I think it worked out pretty well for us."
Kimmel led the field to the checkers under caution while track officials cleaned the track after a lap 79 incident in turns three and four that involved many of the front-runners. Billy Venturini, Blake Bjorklund, Brent Sherman, Tony Ave and Justin Allgaier, all involved, were examined and released from the infield care center after the incident. The race was shortened to 81 laps, with Kimmel and the rest of the 16 drivers on the lead lap completing 215 of 250 miles scheduled. The decision was made to shorten the race due to a combination of factors, including the expected length of the cleanup required for the final caution period and ensuing darkness.
The race also marked the first competitive laps at Talladega since the track's massive 2006 repaving project, and much of the field battled three and even four wide throughout the event. There were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers. One of those race leaders was Steve Wallace, who led a total of 12 laps and finished second in his career first restrictor plate race.
Formula One veteran Juan Pablo Montoya led a total of nine laps and finished third in his career first ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt. The Bogota, Colombia native used the race to help him make the transition from open wheel racing to stock cars.
"In Formula One if you go to the back you stay in the back," said Montoya, who drove the No. 4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger for Chip Ganassi Racing. "You can be two seconds quicker than any other car and you still cannot pass him. It's great to see that whatever happens...I got hit and had to fix the car. I came to the pits four times to fix it and even after all that you go out and you're in the back of a 30-car cue or line or whatever you want to call it and you still can get up front, and that's really, really nice."
Kelly Bires, in the No. 99 Wood Brothers/Ken Schrader Racing Ford, finished fourth with Michael McDowell, in the No. 2 Z-Line Dodge, trailing in fifth.
In addition to earning his career first restrictor plate victory, Kimmel captured the 2006 Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Championship by 25 points over Bobby Gerhart. The Superspeedway Challenge is a $62,500 total point fund within the 23-race ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule and includes race events at Daytona, Nashville, Kentucky, Pocono, Michigan, Kansas, Gateway, Chicagoland and Talladega. Kimmel has now earned Superspeedway Challenge honors five times during his ARCA RE/MAX Series career ('98, '01, '03, '05).
Crafty veteran and ARCA RE/MAX Series restrictor plate king Bobby Gerhart, who has emerged this season as Kimmel's closest point rival, earned his ninth career Pork Pole Award at Talladega this weekend. The four-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner and 2001 ARCA Talladega race winner finished seventh and led 12 laps during Friday's Food World 250.
Bill Kimmel earned the SK Hand Tool Crew Chief of the Race award. Dexter Bean finished tenth in his No. 6 Five Star Telecom Chevrolet to earn highest finishing rookie honors. Skip Cummins was the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger, while Timothy Peters recorded the Hurst Fastest Lap of the Race with a top speed of 197.354 mph on lap 71.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series concludes its 2006 season with the Prairie Meadows 250 on Sunday, October 15th at Iowa Speedway. The race marks the first time that the series has competed at the brand new, 7/8ths-mile, Rusty Wallace-designed facility.