Kimmel Controls Salem High Banks SALEM IN, by Don Radebaugh -- The day didn't start out very well for Frank Kimmel, but it ended up like it usually does - in victory lane. Kimmel, in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Chevrolet, overcame a variety ...
Kimmel Controls Salem High Banks
SALEM IN, by Don Radebaugh -- The day didn't start out very well for Frank Kimmel, but it ended up like it usually does - in victory lane. Kimmel, in the Advance Auto Parts-Pork Chevrolet, overcame a variety of troubles to win the rain-shortened Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA 200 Sunday afternoon at Salem Speedway.
The win represented Kimmel's 32nd overall ARCA RE/MAX Series triumph and fifth at Salem tying him with Jack Bowsher as the winningest ARCA driver in Salem Speedway history.
Kimmel passed runner-up finisher Jason Jarrett less than 50 laps from the finish and pulled away by five lengths before rain stopped the race nine laps from the finish of the intended 200-lap event. Ken Schrader, who had 1999 series champion Bill Baird qualify his car the day before, charged from the last row to finish third in his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. AJ Henriksen was stout from the start and steered the Fastenal-Engineered Components Chevy home in fourth while Andy Belmont, in the AOL Ford, completed the top-five.
After winning the Old Milwaukee Pole Award on Saturday, his eighth of the season, Kimmel and crew discovered they had rear-end trouble just prior to the race, and had to scramble for a fix. As a result, Kimmel, who wrenches regularly alongside brother and crew chief Bill Kimmel, missed the drivers meeting and had to start from the tail-end as mandated by ARCA officials.
However, it didn't take Kimmel long to thread his way through the pack and challenge for the lead. And when the rains came, Kimmel was in the right place at the right time. "We didn't mind seeing the rain come at all," said Kimmel. "I'm about worn out; but we had a great time racing with Jason Jarrett and Ken Schrader today. You can race all day with those guys and have a blast doing it. My hats off to Jason; he drove a great race. Raced me clean all day. We were a little off, and I'm not even sure we would have had enough to hold him (Jarrett) off, but fortunately the rain came when we were out front."
Regardless of the rain, Kimmel was out front for most of the afternoon having led 117 laps of the 191 recorded while Jarrett was next up in the laps-led category with 49.
Outside polesitter Tracy Leslie got the jump at the onset and led the first 14 laps before Jarrett took control of the lead when Leslie came down pit road under caution for adjustments. Jarrett led up through lap 56 before Kimmel raced by to lead the 57th circuit. Kimmel showed the way up through lap 82 before forfeiting the lead to 16 year-old rookie Shelby Howard in favor of pit service during a caution. Back under green, Kimmel quickly disposed of Howard and set sail again with Jarrett in tow. Then Leslie, running third, cut down a right-front tire and slammed the turn four wall creating another opportunity for the leaders to come down pit road for service. Leslie was not hurt in the accident and picked up the Landrum Spring Hard Luck award as a consolation. After four tires and fuel for all the front-runners, Jarrett's Biomet-Damon RV team led the way off pit road with Kimmel, Schrader, Belmont, Henriksen and Jeff Finley trailing. With the green flag waving again, Kimmel pressured Jarrett and made the pass for the lead off turn four when Jarrett's Pontiac got loose and slapped the wall. While Jarrett regained his composure, Kimmel pulled away while Jarrett and Schrader swapped back and forth for the second spot.
Howard finished a respectable sixth in the Lucas Oil Chevy in front of Jeff Finley who survived a few wall-bangers to finish seventh in John Bailey's Bailey Excavating Chevy. Vermilion, Ohio rookie, Jeriod Prince, making his career-first start, impressed the locals with a solid eighth place finish over Ron Cox who raced Wayne Hixson's Chevy to the final stripe in ninth all the way from the 29th starting position. In doing so, Cox earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award. Todd Bowsher, who had recently picked up sponsorship from Gordon Food Service, finished tenth.
In addition to Kimmel's victory earnings, the Jeffersonville, Indiana driver picked up the Pork Pole-Win award and the Quarter Master Comin' Thru in the Clutch honors as well as the Loctite Halfway Leader award. Jarrett for the sixth consecutive race, won the ARCA Highest Finishing Rookie award while Schrader won the Thermo-Tec Cool Drive honors.
CURRENT POINTS: 1) Frank Kimmel 5725; 2) Jason Jarrett 4665; 3) Andy Belmont 4530; 4) Ron Cox 4020; 5) Norm Benning 3790; 6) Chuck Weber 3760; 7) Donny Morelock 3735; 8) Todd Bowsher 3725; 9) Tim Steele 3610; 10) Mike Buckley 2570.