Kimmel Wins Wild Winchester War
May 7, 2006 | 11:45 A.M. EST
“With all the cautions and the way everything went, we just got lucky,” said Kimmel. “There was a lot of lapped traffic and you know ARCA racing now is a lot different than it was a couple of years ago. There’s a lot of great cars and you come up on them and now you kind of have to work hard for it whereas you didn’t have to do that a few years ago.” Results
Kimmel made a total of seven pit stops en route to his 65th career victory, including a stop during caution on lap 185 of the 200 lap race after his Ford ran out of gas on the backstretch and was pushed to pit road by Todd Bowsher’s no. 21 Safe Auto Insurance Ford.
“It’s real simple,” said Bowsher, who finished 11th in the event. “In 2001, my first year of ARCA racing, I wrecked my only car at MIS during qualifying. Bill and Frank and Larry Clements gave me a car to use. Without their help, I would have missed two races and I would have never been able to finish sixth in points that year. When I saw Frank fall to the bottom I just knew I had to help. Kinda like a payback from six years ago.”
After topping off for fuel in the pits on lap 186, Kimmel returned to the track, only to pit again on lap 188 for additional fuel and four fresh tires.
Kimmel’s empty gas tank remained a mystery.
“We had plenty of fuel so we’re going to have to check that when we get home,” said Kimmel. “These banks are so steep and you’re riding around there so slow that fuel probably got away from the pickup and the end result was we ran out of gas. I thought man, we can’t have this happen.”
The race was lengthened to 202 laps to accommodate a green-white-checkered finish after an eventful restart on lap 196 in which Justin Allgaier, in the no. 16 Hoosier Tire Midwest-Trashman-USAF Pontiac and Brett Rowe, in the no. 90 Imperial Bedding Chevrolet, battled side-by-side fighting for the lead.
Allgaier had the lead on the restart before contact between the two front-runners resulted in both machines bouncing off the turn one wall. After regaining composure, the two battled down the backstretch before locking horns again in turns three and four. Both cars spun after the contact bringing out the 12th caution of the day and giving the lead to TJ Bell in the no. 50 Bobby Jones Racing Dodge.
When the leaders took the green to complete the final two rounds, Bell held off Kimmel for the first circuit but was unable to keep Kimmel at bay for the final lap. Bell settled for second finishing about a half-length away.
Billy Leslie, in the no. 2 Leslie Tire-Hercules Tire Ford, recovered from a lap 188 spin in turn two to finish a career-best third. The 19-year-old Michigan native ran in the top five for much of the day.
Fellow Michigander Michael Simko, in the no. 45 Diamond Racing-Mound Steel Chevrolet, finished fourth. Simko spent much of the night traveling to Winchester from Southeastern Michigan, where the veteran racer competed in a Late Model feature at Flat Rock Speedway.
Bobby Gerhart, in the no. 5 Lucas Oil Chevrolet, rounded out the top-five. The Pennsylvania native remains atop the series’ point standings, leading by 80 points over Bell and Kimmel, who are tied for second.
Billy Venturini, who had been running in the top-five and was second in the series’ point standings heading into Winchester, called his day early on lap 130 and retired to the pits, finishing 28th with “Engine” listed as the official reason out. Venturini heads into next weekend’s Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150 at Kentucky Speedway fifth in points.
Kimmel’s teammate, Ryan Foster, finished sixth in the no. 47 Frank Kimmel Racing Ford, while Allgaier and Rowe finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
“Well, it was an eventful day,” said Allgaier, who led a total of 48 laps of the 200-lap race. “Tough to come out in seventh place because we qualified well and ran well. Can’t ask for more.”
Rowe, who earned his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series Pork Pole Award earlier in the day, led a total of 51 laps, while Bell led five and Kimmel led 98.
Ken Weaver, in the no. 20 Phoneco Dodge, finished ninth and was the last car in the 35-car starting field that crossed the finish line on the lead lap.
Bill Kimmel was the SK Crew Chief of the Race. Randy VanZant, who started 26th and finished 10th, was the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger.