Frank Kimmel flies in ARCA Kil-Kare by Don Radebaugh Xenia, Ohio, 5-26-00 - Frank Kimmel, with a whole bunch of help from the crew, dominated the Kil-Kare ARCA 150 Friday night under the lights at Kil-Kare Speedway. It was Kimmel's 18th career...
Frank Kimmel flies in ARCA Kil-Kare
by Don Radebaugh
Xenia, Ohio, 5-26-00 - Frank Kimmel, with a whole bunch of help from the crew, dominated the Kil-Kare ARCA 150 Friday night under the lights at Kil-Kare Speedway. It was Kimmel's 18th career ARCA triumph and the first of the season for the Jeffersonville, Indiana ARCA regular after 5 events.
However, Kimmel's hard-earned victory would not have come at all without some very determined hustle from the crew who were forced to change engines just prior to qualifying when it was discovered the primary power plant was broken. With the back-up motor buckled in, Kimmel got out just in time to win the Talladega Pole Award, his second of the season. And from there, the 1998 ARCA champion did all the rest and simply checked out on the field while three-time ARCA champion Tim Steele and former ARCA/Kil-Kare winner Eric Smith diced for second. Steele eventually won the race-long war for the runner-up spot while Smith settled for third ahead of Robbie Pyle and Bobby Gerhart to finish out the top-five.
"This Advance Auto Parts crew won the race tonight," was the first thing Kimmel said in victory lane. "I was just lucky enough to be the driver. The car was absolutely perfect right off the trailer which was a big help because we broke a motor, so the guys had to thrash all afternoon under the hood. We really needed this. We've had way too much bad luck this year. And this crew earned every bit of it tonight. I really want to thank my car owner Larry Clement for giving us the best of everything to work with. I don't know a man who works harder and is more determined than Larry is. If we fall down, it's our own fault because he provides us with everything we need to do this right. We sort of tripped a little tonight but this team never fell, never backed down and just busted their tails. They're the best in the ARCA business and they proved it tonight."
Kimmel was pretty good as well leading all 150 laps with nary a serious challenge before the checkered flag fell in the 23rd running of the event. Kimmel's perfect night included the ARCA Pole-Win bonus worth an additional $4,500 added to the winnings as well as the Auto Value Halfway Leader Award and the Quarter Master Coming Thru in the Clutch honors. In all, the victory was worth $16,550 to the Clement-owned operation.
Steele got close a couple of times during the course of six caution periods but spent much of his night with an eye in the mirror on Smith who was never more than a couple of feet away from the familiar #16 HS Die-Softech Ford Taurus. Smith raced Steele fender-to-fender for the duration but was unable to complete the pass and mount a challenge on Kimmel. With a weekend off from the ASA AC Delco Series, defending race winner Pyle was the last car on the lead lap in Jerry Lawrence's Dodge Avenger with Gerhart in tow as the first car a lap down. Gerhart was in the hunt all night and charged from the 17th starting position for his top-five finish.
Andy Belmont, in the America Online Ford, started 13th and finished sixth ahead of NASCAR Winston West driver Bobby Dotter in seventh. Norm Benning again won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger Award for racing his SoBe Healthy Refreshments Chevrolet from 22nd to eighth in front of rookie Shawna Robinson and point leader Bob Strait to complete the top-10. Robinson, in the Michael Kranefuss-Jeremy Mayfield owned Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs Ford Taurus, also picked up the Prestone ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie honors for her work.