Winchester: Race report

Kimmel wins Winchester war WINCHESTER IN (8-30-03) -- ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Frank Kimmel, by keeping his machine up front for most of the race and out of harm's way, threaded the needle through the typical Winchester short-track war...

Kimmel wins Winchester war

WINCHESTER IN (8-30-03) -- ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Frank Kimmel, by keeping his machine up front for most of the race and out of harm's way, threaded the needle through the typical Winchester short-track war fighting off the youngsters along the way to win the wild Winchester ARCA 200 Saturday night at Winchester Speedway.

With ten cautions for a wide variety of wrecks and even one red-flag period to choose from, nothing could keep Kimmel from scoring his career-fourth series victory at the renowned Indiana oval and 49th of his storied career.

"Just another unbelievable night for the Advance Auto Parts-Pork crew," said Kimmel. "I'm so proud of this team. It's getting harder and harder to win over here. These youngsters are running the wheels off these cars. Hats off to all of them - Brent Sherman, Shelby (Howard), Jason (Jarrett), Chase (Montgomery); they were all tough tonight. What a wild night out there. We dodged a lot of bullets and got ourselves another big win. Bring on DuQuoin."

Eighteen-year-old Shelby Howard, with a badly wounded racecar, finished second in the Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge hot on the heels of Kimmel with Jason Jarrett, in the Gladiator GarageWorks-Damon RV Pontiac, trailing in third. Randy VanZant, in the Mike's Body Shop-Devers Truck Bodies Pontiac, tied his career-best finish of fourth. Todd Bowsher steered the GFS Marketplace Ford to the finish in fifth, the last car on the lead lap.

Paul Menard, who won the Old Milwaukee Pole in his first Winchester appearance, led the first 28 laps in Andy Petree's Turtle Wax Chevrolet before getting caught up in a turn two wreck resulting from a lapped car that bounced off the wall and directly into his path. Although no longer a factor, Menard would eventually return to competition after several laps on pit road for repairs.

That gave the lead to Kimmel who stepped up from the fourth starting position and led just through the halfway point. Meanwhile, with Kimmel setting a torrid pace, the wrecks in his rear view mirror came one-by-one afflicting several would-be contenders including AJ Henriksen, Ron Cox, Billy Venturini and Bobby Gerhart just to name a few. Kimmel, who only pitted once during the 200-lap affair, came out fourth after his routine stop for tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel but quickly raced his way back into second behind new race leader Brent Sherman. With Kimmel looming large in the mirror, Sherman held on for 29 laps before he too bounced off a lapped machine and spun in turn two. That gave the lead back to Kimmel who would never again relinquish it.

Then with five laps remaining the field came to a halt when the red flag waved for a multi-car wreck in turns one and two that left several demolished racecars in its wake including Chase Montgomery's machine, which flipped upside down. It started in turn one when Mike Langston and Montgomery, who were racing for second, made contact. Following the contact, Langston's machine bounced off the wall onto to Montgomery's car, which turned over in the aftermath. Howard did his best to steer low of the mess but ripped the right-side sheet metal off his car in doing so. Andy Belmont and Mark Gibson however were not so lucky and piled into the accident eliminating both from competition. After a 15-minute delay to clear away the debris, the cars rolled off under caution while offic1als realigned the field to its proper order. To give the fans the ARCA-mandated green flag finish, the race would be extended by three laps setting the stage for the thrilling green-white-checkered finish. When racing resumed, Howard, in his visibly battered and bruised car, kept Kimmel on his toes and the packed house on its feet to the very end finishing a scant .266 seconds behind the winner.

Through all the on-track trials and tribulations, there were no injuries. Sherman, after several trips down pit road for repairs, raced his way back to sixth in the final running order one lap down with Mike Buckley finishing a solid seventh in his own ETS Solutions Chevrolet. Andy Ponstein finished eighth in John Bailey's Chevrolet with Venturini trailing in ninth in the Hawk Saw Blades-Quartermaster Pontiac. The unsponsored John Sadinsky, for the second consecutive season, finished tenth. In doing so, the Johnstown, Ohio driver, who started 22nd, earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions. Bowsher's crew, after several stops on pit road to patch up his car, won the Gladiator GarageWorks of the Race award.

From Winchester, the series quickly packed up and steered for the DuQuoin, Illinois mile-dirt for the Southern Illinois 100 scheduled less than two days later on Monday, Labor Day before completing the three-race trick at Chicagoland Speedway the following Saturday.

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Series ARCA
Drivers Mike Buckley , Frank Kimmel , Andy Belmont , Chase Montgomery , Bobby Gerhart , Jason Jarrett , Shelby Howard , Billy Venturini , Ron Cox , Brent Sherman , Mark Gibson , Todd Bowsher , Andy Petree , Paul Menard , Mike Langston