Frank Kimmel capped off a wild night of racing under the lights at Kentucky Speedway with a victory in the Channel 5-155. With a stand-alone crowd of 30,000 looking on, Kimmel passed race leader Chad Blount with less than 10 laps remaining and...
Frank Kimmel capped off a wild night of racing under the lights at Kentucky Speedway with a victory in the Channel 5-155. With a stand-alone crowd of 30,000 looking on, Kimmel passed race leader Chad Blount with less than 10 laps remaining and then fought off the determined Blount to earn his 36th career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory and third consecutive on the tour. In addition, it was Kimmel's third consecutive win at the Sparta, Kentucky speedplant. Blount, with three laps remaining, took one final run at Kimmel in turn one. The 22-year-old Walkerton, Indiana rookie drove inside of the eventual winner through the corner but Kimmel carried more steam off on the high side and drove away down the backstretch. Blount, who missed out on an Atlanta win earlier this year by .001 seconds, trailed Kimmel across the final stripe by less than three-tenths of a second. Blount, in Todd Braun's unsponsored Dodge Intrepid, had a five-length advantage over Kimmel with less than ten laps remaining and appeared to be headed toward his career-first victory. However, it all changed when lapped traffic spun directly in front of the leaders off turn two with nine laps remaining. Jason Rudd, in only his second superspeedway start, finished a very respectable third in the Graybar Electric Dodge giving Dodge second and third in the final running order. Old Milwaukee polesitter John Metcalf bounced back from a disastrous pit stop to finish fourth in the RE/MAX Int'l Chevrolet.
Andy Belmont, with new sponsorship from Wheel Control, charged from the 21st starting position to finish a solid fifth. Nine cautions for 38 laps for a variety of wrecks, spins and wall-bangers kept the field tightly bunched throughout the 155-mile event while eight lead changes among four drivers kept things fairly busy up front. Outside polesitter Kimmel, who won the Loctite Halfway Leader award, led the most laps with 72 followed by Belmont with 16. Blount led 12 while AJ Henriksen led four. Belmont was also the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger of the race for advancing the most positions while Blount earned Highest Finishing Rookie honors. Ron Cox, who was running fourth late in the race in the Buffalo Wild Wings Chevrolet, was awarded the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award after being involved in an accident with a lapped car. There were no injuries.
Belmont was leading the race with 17 laps to go when a failing transmission forced him to slow. "We had a rocket ship. There was no way Kimmel and the others could have caught us, but the transmission starting vibrating so badly that I couldn't see where I was going. I couldn't see my marks so I had to slow. I damaged the transmission earlier in the race when Vern Slagh spun in front of me on the front tri-oval and I have to spin down on the grass to avoid him. I damaged the transmission grabbing a gear to get out of the grass and back into the race." Andy was pleased with the team's performance. "This is the second race in a row that we have been strong. People can see that we are getting things together. It certainly was a factor in our being able to sign Wheel Control as our primary sponsor for the rest of the year." Andy is looking forward to this week's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, a prelude to NASCAR's All Star Race--The Winston. "We have a hot rod for the race. The team has put together a really great race car for me. I expect that Sunny Hobbs will be driving the 91 car. We are just waiting to hear from her people."
Pryor, Oklahoma racer Christi Passamore drove Andy's 91 car at Kentucky. During a practice session following qualifying, Chuck Weber lost his engine in front of her and covered the track with oil. Passamore spun in the oil and hit the outside wall damaging the rear quarter panel. Andy observed, "It wasn't her fault. She was doing a plug check and had shut the engine off. It was fortunate that she wasn't going any faster." Passmore made her 2002 sprint car season debut at Little Rock, Arkansas' I-30 Speedway by winning the feature race there the week before the ARCA Kentucky race.
Kevin Belmont started the race 20th and finished 17th, two laps down to the winner in James Hylton's Ford Taurus.
Dutch-born driver Michael Vergers finished sixth in the BruichLaddich.com Ford ahead of veteran Mark Gibson in the Williams Brothers Lumber Ford in seventh. 16-year-old Shelby Howard, in the iHigh.com Chevrolet, continued to impress with a solid eighth while Damon Lusk, in the Dynatek-One Race America Chevy, nursed a broken transmission home in ninth. Billy Venturini, in the Jeff Wyler Chevrolet, rounded out the top-ten. In addition to the healthy crowd in attendance, the event was carried live on Speed Channel as well as live on the local Cincinnati, Ohio-based NBC affiliate WLWT, the title sponsor of theevent.