Kimmel Crowned ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion for the Ninth Time
ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Frank Kimmel was officially crowned the ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion for the ninth time alongside his crew chief and brother Bill Kimmel, car owner Larry Clement and the Tri-State Motorsports team during the 55th Annual ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., Dec. 8.
Remarks by series Rookie-of-the-Year Michael McDowell, Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Champion Erin Crocker and a video tributes to two-time ARCA champ-turned NASCAR legend Benny Parsons and NASCAR founder Bill France, Jr., were among the presentation highlights.
Kimmel, the series' all-time active race winner, all-time active lap leader and all-time money winner, is the only driver in series history to acquire nine championships. The Jeffersonville, Ind., driver and four-time Kentucky Speedway race winner posted three wins, 11 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes en route to capturing his most recent title. He received checks and products from RE/MAX, Sunoco Race Fuels, Ford Motor Company, Hoosier Racing Tires, Casite and Lincoln Electric. ARCA President Ron Drager presented Kimmel with a traditional championship ring, while RE/MAX, Int'l Vice President Randy Morse presented the Kimmel brothers and Clement with championship jackets.
In addition to the championship accolades, Kimmel was formally honored on Saturday night for winning the 2007 edition of the Bill France Triple Crown, which is designed to measure a driver's performance on a diverse array of tracks. This year's Bill France Triple Crown included a mile-dirt track (The DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, Sept. 3), a short track (Salem Speedway, Sept. 15) and a speedway (Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 5).
Crew chief Bill Kimmel was awarded the Cometic Engine Mechanic of the Year Award.
The brothers also announced the formation of Kimmel Racing. The tandem which won eight of their nine series titles with Ford, will align with Cunningham Motorsports and compete with Dodge beginning with the 2008 season.
Eddie Sharp Racing's Michael McDowell, who finished second in the final point standings on the strength of a series-high four victories, nine SIM Factory Pole Awards and 822 laps-led in 15 races, was honored with the 2007 Rookie of the Year Award. Robert Coulter, president of the Sim Factory, presented McDowell with the SIM Factory Pole Award while Hoosier's Dave Wroblewski presented McDowell with a check for $5,000 for posting the most wins of the season.
Wroblewski also presented a plaque and check to Gillett Evernham Motorsports team owner Ray Evernham and driver Erin Crocker for earning the 2007 Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Championship. Crocker became the first female recipient of the award in the 55-year history of the ARCA RE/MAX Series.
The evening included video tributes to the Late Benny Parsons and Bill France, Jr. Parsons, over the course of his racing career, earned back-to-back ARCA RE/MAX Series Championships in 1968 and 1969 and went on to become a champion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Parson's career-first win in a racecar came in the Figure-8 division at ARCA-owned Flat Rock Speedway. Drager also introduced a video tribute to Bill France, Jr. France was recognized by most for his roll at the helm of NASCAR and ISC, but remained a close friend and supporter of ARCA throughout his 74 years.
Several series-related announcements preceded the awards banquet. Among them, RE/MAX International stated it will continue on as title sponsor of the premier ARCA Series through 2011, SPEED Channel will continue to televise a minimum of 10 series events each season through 2011, the formation of the ARCA Nation social networking Web presence at www.arcaracing.com. Clement announced Matt Carter, son of long-time NASCAR team owner Travis Carter, will take over the No. 46 Tri-State Motorsports seat vacated by Kimmel next season.
~ Kentucky Speedway ~