Kevin Belmont gets fulltime ride

Feasterville, Pennsylvania's Kevin Belmont has racing in his DNA. He is the son of Chic and Sandy Belmont, who went to a race on their first date back in the 50s. He is the younger brother of Andy Belmont who finished 3rd in the points last year...

Feasterville, Pennsylvania's Kevin Belmont has racing in his DNA. He is the son of Chic and Sandy Belmont, who went to a race on their first date back in the 50s. He is the younger brother of Andy Belmont who finished 3rd in the points last year in the Auto Racing Club of America's premier ARCA RE/MAX series for stock cars. An experienced racer at the local level, Kevin has had a long association with his brother's racing program. A couple of years ago, Kevin served as Andy's spotter at the short and intermediate tracks that are the core of ARCA's program.

For the 2001 season, Kevin became the Crew Chief on Andy's #1 America Online Ford Taurus. He would often get behind the wheel of the team's backup car and qualify it the field making the team eligible for two starting checks. Kevin would usually run 10 or 15 laps at the beginning of the race and then park the car so that he would be back in Andy's pit prior to the first pit stop. About a third of the way into the year, Andy developed an engine problem early in the race while Kevin had fast and reliable car. Spotter, and dad, Chic Belmont asked Andy over the radio what he wanted Kevin to do and was told to keep Kevin running since he had a much better chance of a good finish. Kevin wound up with a top 10 in the race.

As the year played out, Kevin continued to run well, but it presented financial problems for Andy Belmont Motorsports because they were running both programs on one sponsorship. It also spread Kevin pretty thin because he was still his brother's Crew Chief, the Driver of the second team car, the owner of a successful Sign Business back home, as well as a husband and the father of three. According to Kevin, "I'd have been OK if I hadn't needed to sleep occasionally." When the end of the season points were calculated, Andy finished 3rd behind Frank Kimmell and Jason Jarrett and Kevin was 11th.

For 2002, Kevin Belmont will be a full time driver for the James Hylton team in the ARCA RE/MAX series. "My deal with James is for the full year and he plans to run the full ARCA schedule." The Speedway car is Kevin's but there are already five additional race cars in the inventory. "We have one Thunderbird for Speedways and a Taurus for Talladega. They also have 3 intermediate cars and one built for short tracks." Kevin is excited about his prospects for the coming race season. "James has a great bunch at the shop and a strong crew at the track. You can't beat his experience as a driver and an owner. He wants to win and so do I. I think that my experience as Andy's Crew Chief will come in handy because it adds another idea to the mix and helps me communicate as a driver what the car is doing and what it needs."

Kevin is traveling to North Carolina every second or third week to be with the team when they are not racing. "I still have a sign business at home to look after. That's what keeps food on the table. My customers have been great! They know what the race schedule is and are working their sign orders around it."

The first race of the season for the new team was the ARCA 200 mile race the first weekend of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Not having tested at Daytona over the winter, the team was late finding speed during qualifying and had to use a provisional to get into the race. The race car ran well during the race and was solidly in the middle of the field when an intense rain shower interrupted the race for more than 20 minutes at the halfway point. After the shower blew over and the track was dried, the race resumed, but the heavy clouds in the area portended an early finish. Coming off the turn two banking one of the other racers became impatient and bumped Kevin's rear bumper turning him hard into the outside wall. The ensuing caution flag turned into a red flag when it started raining again.

NASCAR had the 2002 Bud Shootout scheduled after the ARCA race and a TV window to make, so the Red Flag became a Checkered Flag with only 53 of the schedule 80 laps completed. Kevin was checked out by the Speedway's medical staff and discharged. He was sore and bruised but unhurt. Kevin uses a Hutchins Head and Neck Restraint system and was glad he did. According to Chic Belmont, "Kevin has bruises on his chest and shoulders from the seat belts and on his back from the Hutchins Device. It is obvious that it did exactly what it was supposed to in keeping his head and neck aligned with his body during the impact with the outside wall."

The next race in the 2002 ARCA RE/MAX series is this coming Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kevin Belmont and the James Hylton race team will be there ready to charge to the front.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Kevin Belmont , Jason Jarrett , James Hylton