Finally! Kimmel Ends Long Drought With Win At Indy
by Dan Margetta
Clermont, Ind. July 27 - It had been nearly four years and 76 races since Frank Kimmel last visited victory lane in ARCA Racing Series competition but he found his way back Friday night at the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis by capturing his 75th career series win in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 presented by Federated Car Care.
"I don't even remember (win) #74," an excited Kimmel announced to the crowd from victory lane, "That's why you see people so happy in victory lane, because it's so hard to get here."
"This is a hard place to drive around and it's especially hard to pass people," Kimmel continued after pacing the final 44 laps of the 200-lap event, "This is a special win for the Kimmel family."
Kimmel took the lead from Mason Mitchell while the leaders were mired in heavy lapped traffic and then survived a four lap dash to the finish set up by a late caution flag to nail down his first ARCA Series victory since September, 2008. Mitchell spun his tires on the final restart and faded to fifth in the mad scramble that followed as Tom Hessert made a daring three wide turn four pass on Kevin Swindell and Brennan Poole to finish second. Swindell crossed the finish line in the third spot while Poole was forced to settle for a fourth place result, just ahead of Mitchell in fifth. Ryan Reed finished sixth while Chris Buescher took the checkered flag in seventh. Chad Boat drove to an eighth place finish while Spencer Gallagher and Mason Mingus were ninth and tenth respectively. Matt Lofton crossed the finish line in eleventh, the final car on the lead lap.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton won the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell and easily led the first 20 laps before the caution flag waved when Alex Bowman hit the wall in turn one. Crafton threatened to turn the race into a yawner as the race resumed by quickly streaking away to a dominating lead within a few laps. Crafton's race came to an abrupt end however, on lap 51 when he slammed into the turn one wall while leading after experiencing a reported issue with his brakes.
Chad Hackenbracht ran well in the race's middle stages, pacing the field for nearly 75 laps including the halfway mark at lap 100 and looked to be a contender for his first series win before retiring from the event in the late stages. Mitchell also appeared poised to claim his first ARCA win as he raced to the lead on lap 150 and held it until getting passed by Kimmel in traffic. Mitchell was able to keep Kimmel in his sights and was on Kimmel's tail when Korbin Forrister's spin into the frontstretch inside wall set up the final dash to the finish. However, Mitchell spun his tires as the green flag appeared, opening the door for Kimmel to drive away for the win as Mitchell fell to fifth place.
The Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 presented by Federated Car Care was completed in one hour thirty eight minutes and sixteen seconds at an average speed of 83.772 miles per hour. The event was slowed a total of six times under the caution flag for a total of 37 laps.