Sparks fly, tempers flare as Kimmel wins after collision with Blount on Nashville concrete; pads point lead. NASHVILLE TN (8-9-02) Friday night's Waste Management 200 at Nashville Superspeedway turned into an exercise of crisis control...
Sparks fly, tempers flare as Kimmel wins after collision with Blount on Nashville concrete; pads point lead.
NASHVILLE TN (8-9-02) Friday night's Waste Management 200 at Nashville Superspeedway turned into an exercise of crisis control management after Frank Kimmel and Chad Blount locked horns racing for the lead near the end of the 200-mile race. When the dust settled, Kimmel posted his 39th career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory while Blount went home with a wrecked racecar.
With laps winding down, Blount got a run underneath Kimmel off turn four and took the lead at the start finish line. As they raced into turn one, Kimmel's front bumper made contact with Blount's rear bumper upon entry sending the Walkerton, Indiana rookie hard into the wall between turns one and two. With his chief rival out of the mix, Kimmel easily went on to win a full lap ahead of the second place finisher Robert Burroughs. It was Kimmel's third consecutive victory at Nashville.
"Chad made a great run coming off turn four, got under me and pinched me up into the fence," said Kimmel after the race. "I'm sure it was probably an accident. I hit him; he hit me and we went sliding back and forth. I hate to win like that. We've raced hard all year; it was just hard racing. I just got into the back of him."
Blount suffered a bruised right wrist and elbow but otherwise checked out okay. However, his Todd Braun-owned Dodge Intrepid was destroyed.
"I don't understand it," said Blount after the race. "I raced him (Kimmel) clean all day. I passed him clean; I never touched him. The rest was pretty plain to see. It wasn't an issue of hard racing; we always do that. It's about right and wrong. That was wrong. We lost out on the win. We took a big hit in the points, and worst of all, one of our best speedway cars is complete junk."
Tempers and skirmishes flared up between the two crews following the incident in which ARCA RE/MAX Series officials did their best to control. No post-race injuries were reported as a result.
While Kimmel and Blount battled up front, several other drivers were making noise of their own including Burroughs who battled back from an earlier spin and passed Chase Montgomery on the last lap to record his career-best finish in second. Montgomery, who donated his race earnings to the Nashville Ronald McDonald Children Charities, went on to finish a career-best third. "It's awesome to come home and run this well," Montgomery said. "These are people that watched me growing up in racing; this is just great." Brent Sherman finished a career-best fourth in the Serta Mattress-Hickory Farms Chevy, with John Metcalf, in the RE/MAX Int'l Chevy, trailing in fifth.
Kimmel won the Old Milwaukee Pole Award, his fourth in four attempts at Nashville, and easily got the jump on outside polesitter Blount at the onset who faded back trying to get up to speed. Jason Jarrett and Robert Burroughs also charged around Blount and settled in while Kimmel took off like a rocket. Jarrett soon fell out with engine troubles while Kimmel continued to stretch his advantage right up through the first round of pit stops on lap 48. It was also during that first pit stop exchange in which Blount's crew allowed a tire to escape from his pit box and roll across pit road. As a result, RE/MAX Series officials put Blount at the tail-end of the longest line. Back under green Blount, clearly on a mission, charged through the field towards the front while Kimmel extended his lead to nearly a half lap over his closet competitor. Kimmel soon lapped most of the field while Jason Rudd, who started tenth, steered his way into the top three behind Kimmel and Burroughs with Blount trailing in fourth. Then Burroughs spun off turn four on lap 111 bringing out the caution flag. With most teams needing just one final pit stop to go the distance, the incident served up the perfect opportunity for the frontrunners to service their cars for a run to the checkered flag. Then for the first time, Kimmel would lose the lead when Blount won the race off pit road. Back under green, Kimmel drove to the outside of Blount and drag-raced the new leader down the backstretch and went side-by-side with Blount in three and four. However, Blount would emerge as the clear-cut leader as they raced off turn four. From there, Blount gave the audience a new look up front when he stretched his lead to five lengths over Kimmel and Rudd. Then another caution, one of seven, came out on lap 126 for debris. On the restart, the tide turned again when Blount missed a shift and Kimmel raced back into the lead. Kimmel's advantage did not last long however when an ultra-determined Blount charged right back and retook the lead just before the accident occurred.
With Blount gone, Rudd was the only car left on the lead lap. But that changed when Rudd and Burroughs made contact in turn one resulting in Rudd slamming the wall. Rudd was not injured but through for the night.
Kimmel, in addition to his first-place prize money, picked up the Loctite Halfway Leader Award as well as the National Pork Producers Pole-Win bonus for winning from the pole. Kimmel also dominated in the lap leader category with 130 laps led. Blount was the only other lap leader.
Ron Cox, in Wayne Hixson's Buffalo Wild Wings Chevrolet, finished a solid sixth in front of Deborah Renshaw, who steered Bob Schacht's National City Bank-Town & Country Ford to a career-best seventh. Billy Venturini finished eighth in the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Kevin Belmont continues to impress with a ninth place finish in James Hylton's Ford over former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville who finished tenth in the Loctite-St Jude Hospital Ford.