KIMMEL HONORED (AGAIN) AS CHAMP AT ARCA RE/MAX SERIES BANQUET
Presented by Advance Auto Parts
Surpassing all other drivers in ARCA RE/MAX Series history, seven-time RE/MAX Series driving champion Frank Kimmel was honored with a standing ovation and numerous awards, including the keys to a brand new Ford F150 red pickup truck during the 53rd annual national championship awards ceremony Saturday night at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky.
Frank Kimmel was in a familar role at the ARCA RE/MAX Series banquet. (Robert Costanzo Photos)
The 2005 title catapulted the Clarksville, Indiana native into the record books, as he now joins Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt as the only drivers in the history of stock car auto racing to win seven titles on a national tour that competes on both short-tracks and superspeedways. From left to right: crew chief Bill Kimmel, Frank Kimmel, car owner Larry Clement.
“ARCA has always been a family to me,” said Kimmel. “Ever since the 1960s when I remember watching Iggy Katona run.”
A humbled Kimmel gave thanks to his crew, sponsors, fellow drivers, family and the Ford Motor Company. Burt Diamond, Global Marketing Manager of Ford Racing Technology, awarded Kimmel with the keys to a brand new Ford F150 truck.
“Ford Motor Company, what can you say,” said Kimmel. “A new truck, that’s pretty special. We just appreciated all of the technical help we received from Ford over the years.”
Kimmel’s brother Bill was awarded the SK Tool Crew Chief of the Year award for the sixth consecutive season, worth $5,000 in cash prizes and $3,500 in tools. He also earned an additional $2,000 for Clevite/Victor Reinz Engine Mechanic of the Year honors.
“Frank’s become the first and only seven time champion,” said Bill Kimmel. “I congratulate you for that, Frank. You’re my brother and that means a lot.”
Kimmel thanked the crewmembers that helped lead the team to a seventh championship. Each member of the Tri-State Motorsports appeared on stage for a formal introduction.
In all, Kimmel walked off with more than $200,000 in team year-end earnings amidst a record $850,000 in banquet cash and awards doled out among the top-20 teams. While the most substantial portion came from RE/MAX, Kimmel’s total also included point fund checks from Hoosier Racing Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Ford Motor Company, SK Hand Tool, Readyhosting.com and Racing Electronics.
Joey Miller was formally named as the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie of the Year.
Following a year-in-review video presentation, banquet host and motorsports television broadcaster Ray Dunlap introduced RE/MAX Int’l Vice President Randy Morse. Morse’s presentation concluded with a special drivers video salute to Frank Kimmel, which included congratulatory remarks from Dale Jarrett, Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Bobby Allison, Richard Childress, Steve Kinser and Richard Petty. “Me and Earnhardt had this thing called the seven and seven,” said Petty. “Frank, I just want to invite you to join us in what’s now the seven, seven and seven; but I have to tell you, if you win an eighth championship, you’re out!”
The top-20 teams in attendance were honored on stage with accompanying video presentations for each.
In addition to Kimmel’s accolades, car owner Larry Clement also received his due honors for his record-tying seventh series car owner title. The seven-time ARCA RE/MAX Series car owner also praised the series, thanking RE/MAX, SPEED Channel, track operators, and the cooperation that the ARCA RE/MAX Series gets from NASCAR, saying that Tri-State Motorsports had a vested interest in staying in ARCA.
"We’re here because we want to be here,” said Clement. “This is a great place to come racing.”
Rookie sensation Joey Miller was honored for his runner-up points finish and also received a slew of special awards throughout the night, including the Readyhosting.com Lap Leader Award and the Weld Wheels Halfway Leader award as well as a customized “Pork Chopper” Harley-Davidson motorcycle for earning six Pork Pole Awards in 2005. Miller was also presented with a check for $10,000 as the 2005 ARCA RE/MAX Rookie of the Year.
Primedia, publisher of Circle Track Magazine and Stock Car Racing Magazine, was honored with the ARCA Motorsports Media Award. ARCA Vice President of Competition Joe Wells presented the 2005 Manufacturer award to Ford representative Bernie Marcus.
In recognizing ARCA’s commitment to higher education, Bob Loga Memorial Scholarship recipients included Vanessa Hampton and Jaclann Bowsher. Other scholarship recipients, compliments of series sponsor the University of Northwestern Ohio, included Andrew Crnkovic and Joshua Timmerman.
Rookies Ken Weaver and Chad McCumbee were honored for finishing third and fourth, respectively. Mark Gibson, who has made 303 career starts in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition,
was honored for his fifth place points finish, while his longtime volunteer crew chief of 5 years, Dennis Pulte, was honored with the ARCA Spirit Award.
Brandon Knupp, who finished sixth in points in 2005 during his first full season of competition, was honored with the HG Adcox Sportsman of the Year Award.
Todd Bowsher was presented the Hoosier Hard Charger Award by Hoosier’s Doug Barnes and also received accolades for his seventh place points finish in 2005. Mike Harmon and car owner Bert Oostlander were honored for their eighth place points finish, while Jason Jarrett was honored for finishing ninth in drivers points despite missing the season-opening event at Daytona Int’l Speedway and driving for two separate car owners in 2005. Florida Rookie Johnny Leonard was honored for finishing tenth in points during his rookie season.
Track operators in attendance included track reps from Toledo Speedway, Salem Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and the Milwaukee Mile. Illinois State Fairgrounds and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds promoter Bob Sargent was honored on stage with the Marcum Award, presented by ARCA president Ron Drager.
The next scheduled event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is a three-day Daytona International Speedway test session, scheduled for December 16-18 in preparation for the February 11, 2006 Daytona ARCA 200.