Kimmel Takes Top Honors At ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet

COVINGTON KY (12-9-06)?ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Frank Kimmel joined his crew chief/brother Bill Kimmel, car owner Larry Clement and the Tri-State Motorsports team on stage at the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet this weekend to celebrate a record ninth championship. Rookie of the Year Michael McDowell, Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Champion Erin Crocker and a video tribute to two-time ARCA champ-turned NASCAR legend Benny Parsons were among the headlines at this year?s banquet, which was held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky.

Kimmel, who remains 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. En route to the 2007 title, Kimmel posted three wins, 11 top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes. On Saturday night, Kimmel 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.

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.

Banquet guests viewed a year-in-review video along with video tributes for drivers who finished in the top-20 in final 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series points. Car owners one through 10 were also recognized. In addition to Kimmel and McDowell, Dexter Bean was honored on stage for finishing a career-best third in the 2007 points championship. He was joined on stage by his father and car owner David Bean. Fellow father/son team combo Justin and Mike Allgaier were formally honored for their fourth-place points finish. Fifth-place points finisher Justin Marks was accompanied on stage by car owner Robby Benton.

Others honored on-stage included sixth place points finisher Phillip McGilton and Brewco Motorsports? David Morse and seventh place driver Patrick Sheltra and car owner Grace Sheltra. Sheltra also earned Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Honors. Others honored on-stage included Justin South with car owner Mark Gibson (eighth), Bryan Silas with car owner Andy Hillenburg (ninth) and Josh Krug with car owner Wayne Hixson (tenth). Bill Gerhart was honored for finishing sixth in owner points. Kevin Cywinski was honored for finishing seventh in owner points and also accepted the HG Adcox Sportsman of the Year Award on behalf of his Country Joe Racing Team.

ARCA president Ron Drager presented long-time ARCA RE/MAX Series competitor Mark Gibson with the Marcum Award, noting the strength of the current car owner and long-time series competitor?s character.

In recognizing ARCA?s commitment to higher education, Bob Loga Scholarship recipients included Aaron Strunk and Justin Bischoff. The University of Northwestern Ohio, which serves as an ARCA RE/MAX Series sponsor, presented scholarships to five students.

Chad Hignite, Dodge Motorsports Program Manager for ARCA, accepted the manufacturer award on behalf of the company. The award was presented by ARCA Vice President of Competition Joe Wells and marked the second consecutive year that the company has earned the award.

The ARCA Spirit Award was presented to Shawn Umphries, whose at-track support far exceeds his duties as a sponsor rep for Mallory Ignitions.

A number of ARCA RE/MAX Series host race tracks had a presence at the banquet. Included among the list were Roy Mott, promoter of Toledo Speedway, Zak Danison and Ashley Chalk from Daytona Int?l Speedway, Todd Pryor from Talladega Superspeedway, Gale Nungesser from Iowa Speedway, Jim Tretow, Vice President of Media and Communications for the Milwaukee Mile, Julie Brown from Kansas Speedway, Beverly and Owen Thompson and Richard and Robin Deaton from Salem Speedway, Mike Schmaltz, Mike Claywell, Scott MacConnell and Chris Ryan from Kentucky Speedway, Don Faurbbach and Joe Volpe from New Jersey Motorsports Park, Tim Chapman, Frank Marchonda and Jerry Santucci from Cayuga Speedway Park and Andy Hillenburg from Rockingham Speedway.

Additional awards were presented at a press conference earlier in the day. The next scheduled event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a three-day Daytona International Speedway test session, scheduled for December 14-16, in preparation for the February 9th ARCA 200 at Daytona.

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