Toledo: Race report

In brutal summer heat, Kimmel takes Toledo. TOLELDO OH (6-23-02) After disappointing finishes at Pocono and Michigan, Frank Kimmel bounced back big with a hard-fought victory in the Jasper Engines & Transmissions 200 Sunday afternoon at ...

In brutal summer heat, Kimmel takes Toledo.

TOLELDO OH (6-23-02) After disappointing finishes at Pocono and Michigan, Frank Kimmel bounced back big with a hard-fought victory in the Jasper Engines & Transmissions 200 Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway.

Kimmel survived a late-race challenge from Jason Jarrett and blistering heat to earn his 38th career ARCA RE/MAX Series victory and fifth of the season after ten events. The win also moves Kimmel to within three victories of Tim Steele (41) who is third all-time behind Iggy Katona (79) and Jack Bowsher (48).

"After the last two races, this just feels great," said Kimmel in victory lane. "This Joe Rhyne motor was awesome today. I was a little worried because it ran at 260 (degrees) all day; but it never missed a beat. It was a tough day out there; the heat was incredible. I'd just like to thank Jason (Jarrett) and Damon (Lusk) for racing me so clean. They had a few opportunities to turn me and they chose to race me. Those guys are class acts. This Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford was awful tough today."

With high humidity and temperatures soaring into the high 90s, Jarrett turned up the heat a little more when he planted his Biomet-Damon RV Pontiac inches away from Kimmel's rear bumper for the last two laps. Although Jarrett appeared Kimmel's equal in the end, the Hickory, North Carolina driver could not find a way around the eventual winner falling short at the final stripe by a length.

To add to the misery of the brutal summer heat, 15 cautions for a variety of accidents and incidents slowed the 200-lap race for 76 laps while safety workers cleared debris from the track. There were no injuries.

Chris Moore, in his career-first RE/MAX Series start, made quite an impression finishing third in the Thermo King-A1 Masonry Ford with Battle Creek, Michigan late model standout Fred Campbell trailing in fourth in his career-first start. AJ Henriksen steered the Fastenal-Engineered Components Chevrolet to the finish in fifth recording his second consecutive top-five finish.

Leading ARCA Rookie of the Year candidate Chad Blount won the Old Milwaukee Pole award and led the first 5 laps before outside polesitter Lusk wrestled his way into the lead. Blount, who eventually finished 18th, would soon fade with mechanical difficulties while Lusk continued to lead with Soddy Daisy, Tennessee standout Ron Cox trailing in second. Lusk led up through lap 86 before the Kennewick, Washington driver was forced to pit with a flat tire while Cox took over up front. Cox led nine laps before pitting under caution for tires and fuel handing the lead to Henriksen, who opted to stay out for now and lead the race. Back under green, Henriksen maintained the lead for more than 20 laps before he too would come down pit road for service shuffling Jarrett, who had already pitted, to the point. Jarrett showed the way for 25 laps before Kimmel made his winning pass on the 145th lap. Then the 15th caution flag waved inside of ten laps from the finish for a multi-car wreck in turn one. That set the stage for the exciting ARCA-mandated green-white-checker finish giving Jarrett an opportunity to take one more run at Kimmel. Cox, who was clearly a threat to win in Wayne Hixson's Buffalo Wild Wing Chevrolet, had to settle for a disappointing 28th after his oil pump failed after 137 laps completed.

Second-generation driver Michael Simko, who started 23rd, finished a solid sixth in only his career-second RE/MAX Series start earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions. Billy Venturini finished seventh in the Cathy Venturini Racing Chevrolet with 62-year-old Zeeland, Michigan driver Vern Slagh finishing eighth, the last car on the lead lap. Lusk battled back to a ninth place finish after going a lap down dealing with his earlier troubles with Todd Bowsher, in the GFS Marketplace Ford, trailing in tenth.

Lusk maintained his point lead headed to Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway on July 3rd while Kimmel moved to second ahead of Blount. Jarrett, jumped from sixth to fourth while Andy Belmont, who finished a disappointing 29th, fell to a tie for fifth with Chase Montgomery.

-arca-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Chase Montgomery , Jason Jarrett , Tim Steele , Ron Cox , Vern Slagh