Hessert Capitalizes on Kimmel's Misfortune to Narrow Deficit (TOLEDO, Ohio) - Frank Kimmel led 10 laps in the second half of the Allen Crowe 100 in Springfield, Ill. yesterday, but exited the Illinois State Fairgrounds with an air of regret -...
Hessert Capitalizes on Kimmel's Misfortune to Narrow Deficit
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - Frank Kimmel led 10 laps in the second half of the Allen Crowe 100 in Springfield, Ill. yesterday, but exited the Illinois State Fairgrounds with an air of regret - much to Tom Hessert's delight.
Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Ford), a master at the one-mile dirt oval with a record seven career wins, finished outside the top 10 at the oval for the first time since his 1996 debut, when he came home 12th following a Lap 73 crash into the Turn 2 wall.
"I don't know what happened," said the nine-time series champion. "I just lost the car. It got out from under me, spun the thing out to the wall and tore it all to pieces. It's just a disappointing day. They crashed there earlier, during the previous caution, and I don't know if there was anything on the track or not, but that's my excuse today. I just lost it and it messed up a good day."
Though the result was a far cry from what Kimmel had hoped would be an eighth Springfield win and a pad to his series lead, it was an improvement on what could have been. Kimmel started just 16th after repairs and earned the Aaron's Lucky Dog to return to the lead lap and improve his position.
Kimmel maintained the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards points lead by five (3205-3200), but is feeling heat from Hessert (No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Dodge), who finished third.
"We had a good points day," Hessert said. "We weren't the fastest, but we raced smart. We took advantage of the holes that were given to us."
Craig Goess (No. 81 Greenville Toyota of N.C. Toyota), who entered the race second in the standings, fell to third but maintained a mere 10-point margin to Kimmel. Goess finished 11th but did not lead any laps.
Patrick Sheltra's (No. 60 Recycling Services/Ferguson Pipe Dodge) win helped him improve one position to fourth. The former standings leader sits just 40 points from the lead and is being closely pursued by Mikey Kile (No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet), 45 points from first place.
The 2010 title would not only give Kimmel a record 10th series championship, but would make him the first driver to win an ARCA national championship in three separate decades. Bob Dotter was the last driver to win a championship without winning a single race, accomplishing the rare feat in 1980, the first of his three title seasons (1983, 1984).
Hessert's best championship finish is eighth, achieved in each of the past two seasons.
Coulter's Four Crown Lead at 25: Joey Coulter (No. 16 Darrell Gwynn Foundation/Rip It Energy Fuel Chevrolet) finished fourth at the Illinois State Fairgrounds to secure his second consecutive top-five finish on a dirt track (third at Du Quoin (Ill.) in 2009) and his third straight top-five in the month of August. In turn, Coulter maintained the lead in the pursuit of the Bill France Four Crown Award, which rewards drivers for success on a diverse slate of tracks.
The Four Crown schedule is comprised completely of the ARCA Racing Series races scheduled for August. The final Four Crown race is scheduled at Chicagoland Speedway (1.5-mile speedway; August 27). Coulter also led the Four Crown standings after his win in the first race at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway (short track, August 7) and a second-place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course, August 15).
Tom Hessert remained second, and Mikey Kile and Patrick Sheltra each rose two positions, to third and fourth, respectively.
Four Crown points are allocated without qualifying or in-race bonuses, and distributed in the same method as in the official series standings. A race winner receives 200 points, the second-place finisher receives 195, and following positions receive five fewer points per lower position until five points are awarded to a 40th-place finisher, if necessary.
The top 10 drivers in the Four Crown standings are as follows: 1. Coulter 580; 2. Hessert 555; 3. Kile 540; 4. Sheltra 535; 5. Steve Arpin 520; 6. Frank Kimmel 510; 7. Dakoda Armstrong 490; 8. Craig Goess 475; 9. Robb Brent 425; 10. Chad McCumbee 415.
Coulter will clinch the Four Crown title regardless of any other driver's finish with a top-five result Friday evening at Chicagoland Speedway.
Cox Contends, Leads 41 Laps: In just his fifth start of the 2010 season, Ron Cox led 41 laps to take the $500 Aaron's Lap Leader Award in Sunday's race.
Cox, a high school teacher from Tennessee who finished second at Springfield last season, seemed prepared for another high finish before being involved in a collision with Mikey Kile late in the race. He finished 20th.
Steve Arpin challenged Cox in the lap leader category by taking the first seven laps after starting from the pole and leading 29 consecutive laps later, for a total of 36. Arpin won the $500 Messina Halfway Leader Award by leading at the race's halfway point.
Arpin closed within 15 laps (209-194) of Chris Buescher for the lead in the year-end Aaron's Lap Leader Award standings.
Approaching a New Mark for Parity: Patrick Sheltra contributed to one of the best storylines of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series season with his victory, as he became the 13th driver to win in 14 series races. The record is 15, set in the first 22 of 23 races in 2007.
11 of the 13 drivers to win this year were first-time winners in the series.
Steve Arpin is the only driver with multiple race wins, but had not won a pole prior to Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell Saturday. Arpin became the 12th different Menards Pole Award winner in 13 qualifying sessions this season. (Qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway in April was cancelled for severe weather.) 11 drivers with one pole each are tied for second place in the season-long Menards Pole Award standings behind Chris Buescher, who qualified first at Toledo and Mansfield.
Top-Fives the Norm for Fike: A.J. Fike steered the No. 10 RFMS/Liberty Village Ford to fifth place for owner Andy Hillenburg, marking his third consecutive top-five dirt track finish in ARCA competition. Fike finished fourth in both races last season. No other driver can claim such a distinction. Steve Arpin comes close, with top-10 finishes in each of the last three dirt races - fifth at Springfield and ninth at Du Quoin last season, and seventh Sunday.
Career Highs for Basham, Kovski: Jason Basham (No. 94 Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet), son of ARCA Racing Series mainstay Darrell Basham (No. 34 Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet), recorded his first top-10 finish in 51 ARCA Racing Series start. Basham finished 10th, topping his previous career high of 15th at Du Quoin last year.
Kelly Kovski, who normally serves as the car chief for Robb Brent's No. 36 Orchard Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dodge at the Springfield-based Allgaier Motorsports shop, finished sixth in the No. 17 Central Illinois Security/Hoosier Tire Midwest Chevrolet for Roulo Brothers Racing. The finish tied the Springfield resident's career high, achieved at the Springfield fairgrounds oval three years ago.
Sweet Home Chicago: The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards visits the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. on Friday, August 27. Practice begins at 5:30 p.m. Eastern/4:30 Central on Thursday, August 26, and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell follows at 12:30 Eastern Friday. The 100-lap, 150-mile Ansell Protective Gloves 150 begins live on SPEED at 7 p.m. Eastern. Additionally, live timing and scoring and live audio coverage for all three events will be presented by ARCA Nation and the ARCA Racing Network at ARCARacing.com.
The race will be the 10th at the suburban facility, and in nine races, no driver has won more than once. Frank Kimmel (2003) is the lone active winner. Kimmel is one of four winners from the pole at the track, with Chad Blount (2002), Steve Wallace (2006), and Michael McDowell (2007). Eventual series champion Justin Lofton won at Chicagoland last season.