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ARCA: Kimmel Krushes ARCA Salem Warriors

15 September 1998

By Don Radebaugh

It seemed, almost, like the perfect script. With 10 laps to go, hometown hero Dill Whittymore was holding off Winston Cup superstar Ken Schrader while the crowd roared. However, a good bit of that roar belonged to the other local hero Frank Kimmel who, by now, had checked out on the aforementioned dynamic duo.

After brushing the wall early on, Kimmel bounced off, and bounced back big to dominate the Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 Sunday at Salem Speedway claiming his ninth ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series victory of the season, and 14th of his career.

"I slipped in my own oil up there in three and four," said Kimmel in victory lane. "A clamp was loose on one of the oil fittings and I slipped and hit the wall. Fortunately, we didn't tear it up too bad and got it fixed without losing a lap. I'll tell ya, we had the bad dog here today. This Riteway-Jacobi Financial Services Chevy stuck anywhere I needed it to. We've been working real hard on our shocks and spring set-ups, and it showed here today. I want to thank everyone for all the support. It's been a dream season."

Kimmel was forced to work from the extreme tail-end after pitting twice to cure the oil leak, but quickly showed his strength by passing the entire field to take the lead on the 53rd circuit. Additional pitstops later in the race shuffled the current ARCA point leader back in the line up, but the Jeffersonville, Indiana driver, assisted by extremely quick pitstops, raced back to the point every time to lead 135 of the 200 lap contest. Whittymore faded with five laps to go and Schrader, who relieved the injured Bill Baird, finished 2.5 seconds back in second. "The 46 car was unbeatable today," said Schrader. "There was no way we were going to out-run him today but we had a blast. I want to thank Bill Baird, Spee Dee Pop and Saturn Machine for the opportunity. I only wish there was a little dirt track running somewhere around here tonight so we could go have a little more fun." Baird qualified the car in fourth and started the race for points but bailed out at the first caution to make way for Schrader, who had finished fourth in the Winston Cup race the night before at Richmond.

Veteran Bob Schacht, the last car on the lead lap, finished third in his Engineered Components Ford ahead of Rick Groetsch and Wes Russell to complete the top five.

Bob Strait led 13 laps early on before Whittymore, who led 45 laps throughout the race, took his turn up front. Other than Groetsch, who led seven laps, Kimmel showed the way from the point for most of the afternoon. Whittymore hung on for sixth while Strait, driving a Mark Thompson entry, finished seventh. Strait was factor all afternoon and never out of the top five until an unexpected pitstop late in the race relegated the 13-time series winner farther back in the final running order. Dave LaDuke, making his first Salem start, brought his Tec 3 Prototypes Oldsmobile home in eighth, his best career ARCA finish after only a handful of starts, with Joe Cooksey and Mark Voigt trailing in ninth and tenth.

Kimmel's $14,220 payday included the AC Delco Wire & Cable Pole Win Bonus award for winning from the pole and the Auto Value Parts Stores Halfway Leader award money for leading at the halfway mark. Naples, Florida's Cavin Councilor picked up the Hoosier Tire Midwest Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions, from 31st to 12th.

Current Point Leaders: Frank Kimmel 4640, Mark Gibson 4140, Bob Strait 3940, Jeff Finley 3775, Bill Baird 3615, Andy Belmont 3285, Norm Benning 2970, Curt Piercy 2945, David Boggs 2845, Brian Conz 2645.