Frank Kimmel passed Chad Blount as they squeezed past the spinning Ford of Jerry Glanville with eight laps remaining to win the 155-mile ARCA feature race at Kentucky Speedway. Although Kimmel started second to John Metcalf, he dominated the race...
Frank Kimmel passed Chad Blount as they squeezed past the spinning Ford of Jerry Glanville with eight laps remaining to win the 155-mile ARCA feature race at Kentucky Speedway. Although Kimmel started second to John Metcalf, he dominated the race after he got the jump on Metcalf at the drop of the green.
A late-race pit stop dropped Kimmel's Ford Taurus from the lead to eighth position. With 25 laps remaining from that point, Kimmel made steady progress back to the front, putting him in position to make the winning pass. Jason Rudd finished third with a steady charge from tenth starting position.
The race was Kimmel's third straight ARCA win at Kentucky, and his third win of the 2002 season. 27,575 fans attended to continue Kentucky Speedway's record of success for drawing large crowds for ARCA races. With the win, Kimmel takes over the points lead from Damon Lusk in the hunt for his third consecutive ARCA Re/Max series championship. Lusk finished ninth in the Kentucky race and keeps second position in the points ahead of Blount.
Kimmel used a unique ARCA rule to make the deciding pass. "Blount was held up behind the spinning car and the track was clear ahead of me. With the ARCA rules allowing us to race back to the caution with less than 10 laps remaining, I could race him back to the flag," he said. Unlike the NASCAR rule familiar to most racing fans, ARCA only allows this in the closing laps of a race.
Blount thought he had the best car and could have won the race if he had pressed the issue, saying: "I'm a driver who likes to race people the way I want to be raced. I didn't want to rough anyone up to get my first win."
While Rudd (whose uncle is NASCAR star Ricky) had a good car that he used well in his drive to the front, he claimed that it wasn't quite good enough to challenge the top two finishers. "My car wouldn't run as low in the groove as Chad and Frank. I had to let it ride a little higher to be free enough to go fast," he said.
At the start, Kimmel took charge of the race with Blount following in second and fourth-starting Vern Slaugh getting past polesitter Metcalf as well. Metcalf would stay with the lead pack for the entire race, but never took back the lead and finished fourth. Slaugh struggled with handling troubles and would retire from the race at half distance after hitting the wall. Former ARCA series champion, Tim Steele, made an excellent start; charging from his eighth place starting position to fifth at the end of the first lap. Unfortunately, Steele spun on lap two and hit the wall in the tri-oval and the resulting damage put an end to his race.
Kimmel kept a one second lead on Blount through the race's early laps until Blount made a run to pass for the lead on lap 25 (of the 104 laps that made the race distance). Two laps later, Kimmel's experience showed as he re-passed the youngster's Dodge while they were working through lapped traffic.
On lap 32, Glanville spun for the first time to bring out the second caution of the race. Unlike most of the lead lap cars, A.J. Henricksen stayed on the track to assume the lead. On the restart, though, Kimmel blew past Henricksen to regain the lead. When Henricksen finally made his pit stop during a later caution, he would stay with the leaders by changing only two outside tires. That pit strategy went for naught when Henricksen got tangled up with the slow-running Ford of Todd Bowsher on lap 70 and hit the turn-three wall to end his day. Henricksen was extremely disappointed, saying: "We didn't have to stop for fuel, but the two in front of us did. We could have won this thing."
Kimmel pitted under the ensuing caution while the other leaders stayed out, setting up Kimmel's winning charge. Andy Belmont took the lead at that point, using excellent pit work from his crew to get to the front from the 21st starting position. Belmont would fade in the final laps to finish 5th, his engine sounding rough and showing smoke by the end.
The race had nine cautions for a total of 38 laps. Thirty of the 41 starters were running at the end of the race, ten of them on the lead lap. The race average speed was 105.584 mph and the race's fast lap was 166.991 mph by Frank Kimmel on lap 103.