ARCA: Kimmel Kleans House at Kil-Kare
1 August 1998By Don Radebaugh
After destroying his best superspeedway car a week earlier at Pocono, a very sore Frank Kimmel climbed into his best short-track car, and without putting a mark on it, drove it to victory lane Friday night at Kil Kare Speedway to win the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde 150, his sixth victory on the ARCA tour this season.
Kimmel, in Larry Clement's Advance Auto Parts-Visionaire Chevrolet, beat polesitter Eric Smith to the checkers by three car lengths with Bob Strait trailing in third, the last car on the lead lap. Dave Weltmeyer in the Roulo Brothers Chevrolet finished fourth and Andy Belmont's America Online Ford finished fifth.
"This is absolutely great," Kimmel said in victory lane. "After what happened last week, we really needed this. Jeff Lemons (crew chief) set me up with a perfect race car. It worked everywhere. I always wanted to win one here. This is a great little race track. This is a great night. I can't wait to do it again."
While most cars went home beat and battered from the 150 lap short-track grind, Kimmel somehow hand-delivered Clement's #46 Monte Carlo unscathed.
However, several top-contenders were not as fortunate including Mark Gibson and Josh Baltes who collided off turn four while Baltes was racing Strait for third. The accident eliminated Baltes for good, and also dashed any hopes Gibson had for a top-ten finish. Gibson was eventually credited with finishing 18th while Baltes, who had been running third at the time of the incident, ended up 19th. It also effectively ended Baltes' ongoing duel with Strait that kept the fans thrilled from the start. Also taken from the lead-mix early on was Bill Baird, who lost two laps after a turn two spin. Baird eventually battled back to finish 11th.
Two-time ARCA winner Smith, in his father Cleve's Mangold Ford, earned his second career Talladega Pole Award and led 10 of the first 11 laps before Kimmel took control for the duration. At the halfway point Kimmel had built a half-lap lead but that was soon taken away by a caution period, one of four that would show up before the night was over. And even though the leaders would continually get their fair shots at the eventual winner, no driver appeared capable of running with Kimmel, either in traffic or out.
Centralia, Illinois driver Joe Cooksey finished sixth tying his best career ARCA effort as did Cavin Councilor who finished seventh. David Boggs, Wes Russell and Tim Bainey completed the top ten. Bainey, in his first Kil Kare start, subbed for Dan Pardus in Jim Gardner's Midwest Transit Chevrolet to record his best career ARCA finish.
Kimmel, who won $10,070 for the victory, was also awarded the Auto Value Parts Stores Halfway Leader honors adding an additional $500 while Belmont was the STP-Prestone Highest Finishing Rookie. Scotty Sands won the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions.