Kimmel Spins and Wins at Berlin By Don Radebaugh 7-10-99 Marne, MI - Defending ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Frank Kimmel fought off a variety of gremlins Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan including several trips down ...
Kimmel Spins and Wins at Berlin By Don Radebaugh 7-10-99
Marne, MI - Defending ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series champion Frank Kimmel fought off a variety of gremlins Saturday night at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan including several trips down pitroad to repair damage from a turn three spin to win the Berlin ARCA 200. Kimmel, with extensive damage to the rear of his Chevy Monte Carlo, drove by current point leader Bill Baird with eight laps remaining, pulled out to a near two second advantage on the 7/16th mile oval before rolling the Larry Clement-owned Advance Auto Parts-Alro Steel Chevrolet into victory lane for his 16th career ARCA victory in his 158th attempt. "This is really unbelievable," said Kimmel in victory lane. "We got spun after we had already pitted once, wrecked the tail-end of our Chevy and had to come back down pitroad a bunch more to fix it. The crew won the race for me tonight. They never gave up. Just kept digging, did what they could to repair the damage, changed tires and most importantly, kept me on the lead lap. This team just refuses to lose. We persevered, and it paid off tonight." Baird brought his Eagle One Chevrolet home in second ahead of Joe Cooksey's Maurtco Powder Coating Chevrolet in third. Curt Piercy, in the GA Rich & Sons Chevrolet, finished fourth recording his career-best ARCA finish and 1988 ARCA champion Tracy Leslie completed the top five aboard Jack Bowsher's Zinsser Paint Products Ford. Local favorite Scott Baker, from nearby Holland, Michigan, sat on the pole for his career-first Talladega Pole Award and led the first 50 rounds before Kimmel took command. Kimmel led through lap 69 but gave it up to Baird in favor of pitroad service for fresh tires and fuel under caution, one of eight that appeared throughout the race. Baird then set the pace and stretched his advantage to ten lengths over Andy Belmont, Mike Ciochetti and Cavin Councilor while Kimmel, with newer tires, started his trek to the front. However, before the eventual winner got there, the Jeffersonville, Indiana driver got tagged from behind racing for position and spun backwards into the wall bringing out another caution. Kimmel limped down pitroad for new tires and temporary repair work to his damaged racer while Baird remained trackside, and in the lead. Back under green Ciochetti and Belmont locked horns off the 2nd turn and brought out another caution giving Kimmel another opportunity to get readjusted on pitroad while Baird continued to lead with Bob Schacht and Randy Churchill in tow. When racing resumed, Baird held the point through lap 134 before Kimmel charged back through the pack to lead the next four laps until Baird reassumed control. Then the caution waved again when Schacht and Churchill got hooked up off the 4th corner, and while Baird stayed out, Kimmel hustled it down pit road one final time for four new tires and one last adjustment. And, it was the adjustment Kimmel needed to chase down Baird one more time and race on by for the win less than 10 laps from the finish. Mike Ciochetti, in the Winners' Circle Ford, nursed has badly beat up Ford Taurus to a sixth place finish, the last car on the lead lap ahead of Councilor, Baker, Jeff Finley and Ron Cox to finish out the top ten. Baird was awarded the Auto Value Halfway Leader Award while Bobby Gerhart won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions, from 23rd to 11th. Cox was the leading STP-Prestone Highest Finishing Rookie and continues to lead the ARCA rookie chase in '99.
CURRENT ARCA POINTS: Bill Baird 2790, Bobby Gerhart 2425, Frank Kimmel 2400, Mark Gibson 2160, Joe Cooksey 2090, Bob Schacht 2015, Andy Belmont 1960, Cavin Councilor 1955, Mike Ciochetti 1905, Ron Cox 1895.