Kimmel Dominates And Donates TOLEDO, OH, by Don Radebaugh -- In support of freedom and amidst some of the most difficult times in our nations history, the ARCA RE/MAX Series forged ahead Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway; and so did ...
Kimmel Dominates And Donates
TOLEDO, OH, by Don Radebaugh -- In support of freedom and amidst some of the most difficult times in our nations history, the ARCA RE/MAX Series forged ahead Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway; and so did two-time champion Frank Kimmel.
Kimmel, in Larry Clement's Advance Auto Parts-Pork-ET Sharp Chevrolet, earned the Old Milwaukee Pole with a new one-lap track record, led the most laps and handily won the Jasper Engines & Transmissions 200 on the newly-paved half-mile oval. It was Kimmel's tenth victory of the year and 33rd of his career.
Upon receiving the checkered flag nearly two and a half seconds ahead of runner-up finisher Andy Belmont, Kimmel was handed the American flag in which he held in the air and drove with backwards around the track. Then other than a salute to the healthy audience in victory lane, Kimmel made no attempt at celebration. "We dedicate our victory to the innocent people lost in the tragedy," said Kimmel. "We're here to show that, even in the most difficult times, that this nation can still stand strong. President Bush said, if you're able, to forge ahead so that the terrorists didn't win by default, so we did. We'll be donating a portion of our winnings to the Attack on America Fund and the Red Cross, and we feel great about that. Like all Americans, we wanted to help in someway, and this is one of the ways we chose to help."
During the two-day program that included the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series and the ARCA Auto Value Midget Series on Saturday, ARCA raised, by donation from fans, team members, officials and sponsors, nearly $10,000, half of which was earmarked for the American Red Cross, and the other to help fund Toledo Police and Firefighters who are headed to New York to assist in the rescue effort. In addition, RE/MAX International matched, dollar for dollar, the money raised during the weekend.
During the race, Kimmel had to make one more pit stop than the other front-runners to secure a loose left-rear lug nut, but it didn't matter. Although it shuffled the Jeffersonville, Indiana driver to the back of the field, Kimmel charged right back to the front. In all, Kimmel led a whopping 152 laps in the 200-lap race.
While Kimmel was doing his usual thing out front, Belmont, in his AOL Ford, put on a show all his own. Belmont, who qualified third for the event, broke and engine in happy hour the day before and had to change motors for the race. As a result, Belmont had to tag the tail-end for the start as mandated by ARCA officials. Still yet, the Penndel, Pennsylvania driver quickly raced towards the front, and by the 40 lap mark, was running second on the heels of Kimmel while Jason Jarrett, Philip Kranefuss and 16-year-old rookie Shelby Howard trailed in third, fourth and fifth respectively. And when Kimmel made his extra pit stop, Belmont took the lead for 44 laps before Kimmel regained control. Other than Kimmel and Belmont, Jarrett, who finished third in the Biomet-Damon RV Pontiac, was the only other lap leader having led four circuits. As a result of his podium finish, Jarrett won the ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie honors for the seventh consecutive race. Kranefuss lasted 88 laps before and accident in turn one ended his day while Howard, who raced among the top-five for most of the afternoon in the Lucas Oil-Mack Trucks Chevy, broke a rear-end and dropped out 41 laps from the finish. Kranefuss was not injured while Howard earned the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award as a consolation.
Jeff Finley, in John Bailey's Bailey Excavating Chevy, finished fourth one lap down with Ann Arbor, Michigan mechanical engineer Mike Buckley finished fifth in the Midwest Mall Fronts Chevy. It was Buckley's career-best ARCA RE/MAX Series finish. Ron Cox raced to the finish in sixth in Wayne Hixson's Rick Worley & Son Automotive Restoration Chevy with veteran Roger Blackstock trailing in seventh in the Avon Welding Ford. AJ Henriksen finished eighth in the Fastenal-Engineered Components Chevy with Norm Benning finishing ninth. Steve Cronenwett completed the top-ten finishers in the Jerry The King Lawler Chevy, and in doing so, earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions, from the 28th starting spot. Fayetteville, Tennessee driver Tim Mitchell recorded his career-best finish in 11th in Wayne Peterson's Nealco Pontiac.
As a result of Belmont's stellar afternoon, he earned the Thermo-Tec Cool Drive award and the Loctite Halfway Leader award as well as the RJS Safety honors. In addition to Kimmel earning the Pork Pole-Win award, the current point leader picked up the Quarter Master Comin' Thru in the Clutch honors.
CURRENT POINTS: 1) Frank Kimmel 5985, 2) Jason Jarrett 4905, 3) Andy Belmont 4770, 4) Ron Cox 4220, 5) Norm Benning 3975, 6) Donny Morelock 3900, 7) Chuck Weber 3895, 8) Todd Bowsher 3870, 9) Tim Steele 3610, 10) Mike Buckley 2775