Toledo II: Season finale preview

Kimmel to Clinch at Toledo; Record 9th Title on the Way TOLEDO OH (10-8-07) -- When Frank Kimmel walks through the gate at Toledo Speedway this weekend for the Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire, some sort of congratulatory remarks would...

Kimmel to Clinch at Toledo; Record 9th Title on the Way

TOLEDO OH (10-8-07) -- When Frank Kimmel walks through the gate at Toledo Speedway this weekend for the Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire, some sort of congratulatory remarks would certainly be appropriate. The Clarksville, Indiana veteran, by virtue of entering and competing at Toledo, will have earned his ninth ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship, and eighth consecutive. Kimmel finished second in Friday's ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, stretching his lead in the 2007 standings to 295 points over series rookie and second place point contender Michael McDowell headed to Toledo.

Next-Generation Kimmels on the Charge

This past weekend, another Kimmel found his way to the top of the standings, albeit in a different racing series altogether. Frank's nephew Will, a crew member on the No. 46 ARCA RE/MAX Series team and son of Frank's brother and crew chief Bill Kimmel, earned his career first Late Model Championship at Salem Speedway in Southern Indiana. Frank's son Frankie, who races at Salem Speedway as well, finished third in the point standings in the Street Stock division and won Rookie of the Year honors.

Another Competitive ARCA RE/MAX Series Season; 15 Different Winners in 22 of 23 Events

West Des Moines, Iowa's Michael Annett became one of 15 different drivers to grace the ARCA RE/MAX Series Winner's Circle Friday night at Talladega Superspeedway, besting Frank Kimmel, Dominick Casola, Richard Johns and Billy Venturini to earn his career first series victory in just his fourth series start. He joins James Buescher (Lakeland), Chad McCumbee (Nashville, Pocono), Scott Lagasse, Jr. (Kansas), Billy Leslie (Winchester), Erik Darnell (Kentucky, Michigan), Ken Butler III (Toledo), Michael McDowell (Kentucky, Pocono, Chicagoland), Jeremy Clements (Nashville) and Bryan Clauson (Gateway) as one of ten first-time series winners this season. In 2006, the series set records in the categories of different race winners and first time series winners with 17 and 12, respectively.

In addition to posting his first win, Annett made history in the Talladega race by becoming the first driver in ARCA RE/MAX Series history to win a race driving a Toyota.

Podium Finish for Casola; Career Best for Richard Johns

Andy Belmont Racing's Dominick Casola, a 2007 rookie on the ARCA RE/MAX Series tour, posted a career best third-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday evening. Casola was the highest finishing rookie in the No. 1 A. Casola Farms Ford and also earned Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing from his 21st starting position to third.

"I knew I had to keep my position and maintain where I was (on the final laps)," said Casola. "I wasn't giving up the bottom for anything, because if I went to the outside, I'd get freight-trained. So I was just trying to hold the line and follow them to the checkered and see what happens."

Casola was followed across the finish line by Richard Johns in the No. 39 BeavEx Ford, who also posted a career best finish. Johns' fourth place showing at Talladega bested his previous career best of seventh at Kansas Speedway in 2006.

"For a first time at Talladega and a first time in a restrictor plate race, that was pretty wild just like you see on TV," said Johns. "I've got a lot of respect for these guys that race like Frank Kimmel. It was a great race. We were beating and banging there those last 20 laps. That's what we had to do. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to come back here. I learned a ton. You can sit and play video games but there's nothing like real track time."

Justin Marks Earns Seventh Consecutive Top-ten finish

RAB Racing and driver Justin Marks garnered a lot of attention this weekend for their on track performance, finishing eighth in the ARCA RE/MAX 250 to post their seventh consecutive top-ten finish of the 2007 race season. Marks now joins Michael McDowell as one of only two drivers who have posted seven consecutive top-tens this season (McDowell's streak stretched from Toledo on May 20 through Pocono on August 4). This weekend, Marks and the RAB Racing team travel to Toledo Speedway in Ohio to try and stretch their streak of top-tens even further. Marks, who finished 11th at Toledo in May, should have no problem making it eight in a row: the team plans on running the same chassis that Marks drove to a second-place finish in Milwaukee on August 26 and an eighth-place finish at Gateway Int'l Raceway on August 31.

Bill France Triple Crown; Superspeedway Challenge Decided at Talladega

In addition to finishing second at Talladega, Frank Kimmel clinched the 2007 Bill France Triple Crown Award, which is designed to measure a driver's success on three very different tracks. This year's edition of the award included a dirt track (DuQuoin State Fairgrounds), a short track (Salem Speedway) and a Superspeedway (Talladega). He has earned the Bill France Triple Crown a total of five times (2007, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1998) during his ARCA RE/MAX Series career.

The Talladega race also determined the winner of the 2007 Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Championship. Gillett Evernham Motorsports and driver Erin Crocker earned the award, which is a $62,500 total point fund within the 23-race series schedule and includes race events at Daytona, Nashville, Kentucky, Pocono, Michigan, Kansas, Gateway, Chicagoland and Talladega. Crocker is the only female winner of the award. Other drivers who have helped their team earn superspeedway challenge championships include Frank Kimmel, Davey Allison, Lee Raymond, Bill Venturini, Tracy Leslie, Ben Hess, Bob Brevak, Bob Keselowski, Jeff Purvis, Mike Wallace, Tim Steele, Mark Gibson, Chad Blount, Bobby Gerhart, Blake Feese and Kyle Krisiloff.

Both Kimmel and Crocker will be formally honored for their accomplishments at the 2007 National Championship Awards Banquet in Covington, Kentucky on December 9th. The event is open to the public and tickets are available (734) 847-6726.

Open Wheel Flavor Plentiful at Talladega

Former Formula One driver Scott Speed and reigning IndyCar Champion Dario Franchitti made their stock car debuts in the ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. Both drivers finished on the lead lap, with Speed posting a seventh-place finish and Franchitti finishing 17th.

"I had a blast out there," Speed said after the race. "This type of racing just couldn't be more different than Formula 1. In Formula 1, it's all about instant reactions. With stock cars, it's more of a chess game of figuring out what to do and where to go with your car. My strong suit was at the very beginning and the very end of the race, when everyone went everywhere. I definitely was able to pick off guys. But when everyone was in a train, I definitely didn't have a good feel of what was better, the outside or the inside drafting lines."

At Talladega, Speed announced plans to compete in the full ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule in 2008 driving for Team Red Bull in cars prepared by Eddie Sharp Racing.

Next up for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is Championship Weekend at Toledo Speedway. The Hantz Group 200, presented by Belle Tire, is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 14. Tickets are available by calling Toledo Speedway at (419) 727-1100.

-credit: arca

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Mike Wallace , Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Jeff Purvis , Bobby Gerhart , Tim Steele , Michael McDowell , Richard Johns , Billy Venturini , Mark Gibson , Scott Speed , Blake Feese , Justin Marks , Erin Crocker , Scott Lagasse Jr. , Jeremy Clements , Ken Butler III , Bryan Clauson , Erik Darnell , Billy Leslie , Michael Annett , Dominick Casola , James Buescher , Davey Allison