WINCHESTER, Ind. (June 30, 2013) — Frank Kimmel was a bundle of emotion Sunday after he tied Iggy Katona’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards record for career victories with his 79th checkered flag, in the Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 at Winchester Speedway.
“Every once in a while you have one of those near flawless days,” the 51-year-old Kimmel said after a long post-victory celebration. “This was one of those days for us.”
It was a remarkable day for the Clarksville, Ind., native and his ThorSport Racing team, winning for the third time of the season in his No. 44 Ansell / Menards Toyota and the sixth time at Winchester. Kimmel led 158 laps of the 100-mile, 200-lap event and at the end, had to hold off a hard challenge from teenager Austin Wayne Self in the AM Technical Solutions Dodge, who finished a length away.
“He had a fast car,” Kimmel said. “But I knew if I didn’t make a mistake, held my line and stayed in the middle and didn’t spin out or something that he would have a hard time passing me.”
Kimmel took advantage of his points lead, which grew to 175 points over Mason Mingus, who was involved in an accident while leading and fell to 12th; to start on the pole when Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell was rained out on Saturday.
Kimmel led the first 106 laps after the race started under the green-and-yellow flags as track drying was completed. The hot conditions caused his car’s handling to change, but it was at its best in the end.
Mingus finally tracked down Kimmel and made the pass for the lead on lap 107, but got caught up in a lap 128 multi-car crash in Turn 2. From there, Kyle Weatherman inherited the lead, then pitted for four tires, as did all of the lead-lap machines, including Mason Mitchell, who won the race off pit road.
Kimmel came out on the tail-end of the lead lap cars after a lengthy pit stop for a missed lug nut. Mitchell led for 15 laps until Kimmel took over the lead for good on lap 149.
Kimmel was presented a framed photo collage by ARCA Racing Series officials in Victory Lane, commemorating the 79th win. Kimmel said he started to think about win No. 79 just before the end of the race.
“It crossed my mind, but then I told myself not to think about it too early,” Kimmel said. “When I saw the checkered flag, it was a sort of a flood of emotion. It is a big deal.”
Kimmel got his first ARCA Racing Series victory in 1994, also on a half-mile track, at Toledo Speedway.
“This is really something to enjoy,” Kimmel said. “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.”
The ARCA Racing Series will next travel to Chicagoland Speedway for the July 21 ActivArmr 150.
The Herr’s Chase the Taste 200 from will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 11 p.m. Aug. 1, the first of several tape-delayed ARCA short-track events this season.
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ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:
ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. Thorsport, which has run full-season Truck Series schedules annually beginning in 1998, in 2013 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 AISIN Toyota Tundra driven by Brett Moffitt in the Truck Series and the No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota Camry driven by Frank Kimmel in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.