A record 550 people witnessed Frank Kimmel accept top ARCA RE/MAX Series honors for the third time in his career during the 49th Annual ARCA RE/MAX Series National Championship Awards Banquet held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

Kentucky Speedway played a pivotal role in Kimmel's march to the championship as he drove his No. 46 Advanced Auto Parts/Pork Producers Ford to wins in "The Kentucky 150" in May and "The Blue Grass Quality Meats 200" in July. His championship run included 10 wins, 21 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.

Kimmel's Tri-State Motorsports team also collected a myriad of individual driver and team awards. It collected $180,000 to send the team's season earnings past the $500,000 plateau. Kimmel's career ARCA earnings stand at $1.8 million.

"It was a dream season for Tri-State Motorsports," Kimmel said. "When you have the best sponsors, the best owners, the best equipment and combine that with the best crew, great things are going to happen. It showed big here.

"We love the ARCA RE/MAX Series and we're proud to be here. We're proud to be Americans and certainly proud to be the 2001champions. With Advance Auto Parts and Pork: The Other White Meat coming back next year, we have every intention of defending our title," he added.

Overall, a record $700,000 was distributed to the top 20 series teams for their performances during the 2001 season. 2001 series runner-up Jason Jarrett earned more than $60,000 for the season and captured ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Jarrett also announced he will return to the series with ML Motorsports and run the full 2002 series schedule. The series also announced that as many as 11 series events will air on national television in 2002. Ten of those events will be carried live by Speed Channel (formerly Speedvision). Events to be carried live include "The Channel 5-155," - sponsored by Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT-TV - to be held at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, May 11, 2002, at 8:00 p.m. Channel 5 will air the race live in the Greater Cincinnati market. The broadcast will be the first live local market broadcast in ARCA history.

ARCA also unveiled a new logo to commemorate its 50th Anniversary Season. The ARCA RE/MAX "Channel 5-155" is part of the first event weekend of 2002 at Kentucky Speedway. The event is paired with the Friday, May 10, "Short Track Special," featuring the USAC National Midget Car Series, ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series and Baby Grand Series - Region C races. The "Short Track Special" begins at 8:00 p.m.

2002 Kentucky Speedway season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 1-888-652-RACE, or in person at the speedway ticket office at 2216 Dixie Hwy., Ste. 200, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. Single event ticket sales begin January 7, 2002.