ARCA: Frank Kimmel takes Toledo; Scott Baker fatally injured

24 June 2000

Toledo, OH--Frank Kimmel won the Jasper Engines &
Transmissions ARCA 150 Friday night at Toledo Speedway, a race marred by
the death of Holland, Michigan driver Scott Baker.

Baker, running eighth at the time, made contact with an inner tire
barrier just past the start-finish line just after he completed his
146th lap of the 150-lap event, and was transported to St. Vincent
Medical Center in Toledo where he was pronounced dead.

Kimmel, in Larry Clement’s Advance Auto Parts-Pork White Meat Chevy,
took the lead for good on lap 115 and stretched his advantage to 10
lengths over Tim Steele before the red flag halted the event for good on
lap 149 resulting from Baker’s accident. Steele was credited with second
ahead of Brian Ross in the Damon’s RV Chevy in third while Bobby Gerhart
and Mark Gibson completed the top-five in fourth and fifth respectively.

“We sure weren’t looking for victory under these circumstances,” said an
emotional Kimmel in victory lane. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the
Bakers and it’s tough to get beyond that at this point. I’m happy for
all the guys that work so hard on this deal but we can’t see any cause
for celebration here at the moment. We’re awful worried about Scott
(Baker), he took a hard lick out there.”

Talladega Pole Award winner Tim Steele, in the HS Die-Softech Ford, led
at the onset with Ross, Kimmel, Kirk Shelmerdine and Joe Cooksey in tow
before Kimmel charged ahead to challenge. After working on Ross for a
half dozen rounds, Kimmel raced into second and soon reeled in Steele.
With Steele firmly encamped in the bottom groove, Kimmel took off for
the high-side and raced side-by-side with the leader for 10 laps before
taking command of the top-spot on the 42nd lap. Kimmel led through lap
91 before a caution flag, one of 7 in the race, gave the Jeffersonville,
Indiana driver the opportunity to head down pit road for service. While
Kimmel, Steele, Ross and point leader Bob Strait came down pit road for
new rubber and a splash of 76 racing gas, the rest elected to stay out.
When racing resumed, Andy Belmont, in the AOL Ford, led with Shawna
Robinson in the Kmart Ford running second. Belmont led 4 circuits before
Robinson, nursing a broken right shoulder and two broken ribs, charged
underneath to lead lap 96. Robinson, who had led no laps in ARCA
competition prior, was now in command with the lapped car of Shelmerdine
lined up in her mirror ahead of Belmont, Cooksey and Gerhart while
Kimmel and Steele, from the tail-end with new tires, quickly raced
through the pack to join the mix. Robinson led 19 laps before
Shelmerdine maneuvered her out of the way opening the door for Kimmel,
Ross and Steele as well. With Robinson and Belmont on older tires and
beginning to fade, Steele passed Ross for second, and with time running
out, set his sights on Kimmel. Steele slowly whittled away at the
eventual winner’s advantage but ran out of time when the red flag
appeared signaling the end of the race.

Belmont wrestled sixth away from Robinson who held on for seventh in
front of Cooksey, Eric Smith and Strait to finish out the top-10.
Gerhart, who started 17th, won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger
Award for advancing the most positions as well as the Thermo-Tec Cool
Drive Award for his efforts.

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