VETERAN KIMMEL HOLDS OFF ROOKIE RAGAN IN TOLEDO SHORT TRACK THRILLER TOLEDO OH (9-2-05) -- In the end, it was everything that typifies a short track thriller under the lights, complete with flared tempers, close racing and crumbled sheet ...
VETERAN KIMMEL HOLDS OFF ROOKIE RAGAN IN TOLEDO SHORT TRACK THRILLER
TOLEDO OH (9-2-05) -- In the end, it was everything that typifies a short track thriller under the lights, complete with flared tempers, close racing and crumbled sheet metal.
And, despite heated pressure from several rookies that left him with a noticeably wrinkled racecar, Frank Kimmel, in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford, held off David Ragan by about two feet to win the hard-fought, action-packed Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire Friday night at Toledo Speedway. It was Kimmel's seventh ARCA RE/MAX Series victory of 2005 and 63rd of his career in his 299th series start.
"It was a really exciting race," said Kimmel from victory lane. "A lot of things were happening toward the end there with some of the young kids getting over zealous I guess. Joey Miller raced me clean all night; we raced close lap after lap and we never touched. Ragan did everything he could to wreck us."
Ragan, after winning the Pork Pole award earlier in the day and leading the first 48 laps, caught Kimmel on the white flag lap and made contact with the eventual winner in turns one and two. The contact loosened up Kimmel's car and opened a hole on the inside in which Ragan charged through. As the two raced side-by-side down the backstretch headed for the checkered flag, their machines landed against one another hard causing both to slide up the track in turn three. That opened the bottom lane for Billy Venturini who drove underneath both off turn four hoping to see the checkered flag. Instead, series officials displayed the caution flag sending the race into overtime for a green-white-checker finish.
On the restart, Kimmel got a good jump before Ragan caught him on the white flag lap. Ragan loosened up Kimmel again with his bumper and raced underneath off turn four as both charged toward the checkered flag where Ragan, in the CertainTeed Ford, fell short by the mere margin of .032 seconds.
"We were happy to finish second," said Ragan. "Frank, at the end, was a little bit slower than the 9 and us and it looked like he was holding down the bottom groove. The 9 tried to get by him and I tried to get by him but we didn't. I guess we'll just have to try harder next time."
Venturini finished third in the MC Sports-Central Merchant Services Chevrolet.
"I think we should have won the race," said Venturini. "That last caution hurt us bad. I still don't understand why there even was a caution. Nobody spun; nobody wrecked. I thought we won the race."
Justin Allgaier finished fourth in the Hoosier Tire Midwest-AG Tech-USAF-Trashman Pontiac.
"I wish we could have run better," said Allgaier. "The car was a handful so I'm just glad to finish after all we've been through."
Ken Weaver, in the 1-800-4-A-Phone Chevrolet, rounded out the top five with Brian Tyler, Brian Keselowski, Joey Miller, Andy Belmont and Johnny Leonard trailing sixth through 10th respectively.
Miller led the most laps with 77 and was chasing Kimmel for the lead late in the race before he too got a bumper from behind that caused the Farmington, Minnesota rookie to spin down the frontstretch.
Keselowski was also in the lead mix working both Kimmel and Miller for the lead inside of 25 laps remaining before he would also become a victim of a bumper from behind.
Kimmel, who led 59 laps overall, now has a record nine wins at Toledo since 1994.
Miller earned the ReadyHosting.com Lap Leader award for leading the most laps while Bobby Gerhart, who led 15, won the Weld Wheels Halfway Leader honors.
The Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award went to Leonard for advancing the most positions. Keselowski picked up the Gladiator of the Race award for battling back to finish seventh after the spin.
A Toledo record 17 cautions for the usual short-track thrills and spills slowed the pace for 85 laps. There were no injuries.