By KEVIN HARRIS
Throughout his successful career in the ARCA Racing Series, Frank Kimmel has had lots of memorable days.
On Sunday at Winchester Speedway, the Clarksville native experienced another day he will never forget.
Kimmel led a race-high 158 laps to win the Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 at the half-mile track in eastern Indiana. The victory tied Kimmel with ARCA legend Iggy Katona for the most wins in series history at 79.
“Every once in a while you have one of those near flawless days,” Kimmel said on ARCA’s Web site. “This was one of those days for us. This is really something to enjoy. There were some family and friends here. It’s Indiana, my home state.
“Any win at Winchester is great, but this one I’m really going to enjoy.”
Kimmel can have the record all to himself if he wins the ActivArmor 150 on July 21 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Kimmel was in first place for the first 106 laps of the race before giving up the lead on lap 107 to Mason Mingus. But on lap 128, Mingus got involved in a three-car crash to throw out the caution flag.
Several of the racers came to pit road for pit stops. But Kimmel did not get out of pit road first because his pit crew missed putting on a lug nut on a four-tire stop.
Kimmel, though, recovered as he passed Mason Mitchell for the lead on lap 149. Kimmel held off hard-charging teenager Austin Wayne Self in the final laps to collect the historic checkered flag. Kimmel defeated Self at the finish line by .319 seconds. Kimmel said he was thinking about win No. 79 in the closing circuits.
“It crossed my mind, but then I told myself not to think about it too early,” he said. “When I saw the checkered flag, it was a sort of a flood of emotion. It is a big deal.”
The victory helped Kimmel extend his lead in the ARCA point standings, as he now leads second-place Mingus by 175 points. Kimmel has won a series record nine ARCA championships.
Brennan Poole finished third, followed by Kyle Weatherman and Mitchell. Henryville resident Darrell Basham placed 11th. Sellersburg resident Will Kimmel, the nephew of Frank Kimmel, finished 20th.
KIMMEL’S VICTORY ON TV
Fans of ARCA Racing Series champion and Clarksville native Frank Kimmel can watch Sunday’s historic victory at Winchester Speedway on Thursday, Aug. 1 on NBC Sports Network. The tape-delayed broadcast will start at 11 p.m.