McDowell Wins His Fourth, Kimmel is Officially the ARCA Champ - Again
Rookie Wins From the Pole at Toledo
Michael McDowell made his grand exit from the ARCA RE/MAX Series stage in grand style. The Phoenix, Arizona rookie, on his way to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2008, won the SIM Factory Pole, led the most laps and passed James Buescher with two laps to go to win the thrilling Hantz Group 200 by Belle Tire Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway.
McDowell, in Eddie Sharp’s Z Line-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge, lost the lead in lapped traffic on the 172nd circuit of the 200 lap race, and took it back just in time to earn his fourth career RE/MAX Series victory.
“I made a mistake there, got trapped down on the bottom and let James get away from me and I didn’t want to end the race that way,” said McDowell. “When I cut down on the bottom (pass for the lead) I clipped him a little bit. I didn’t mean to do that but that’s how short track racing goes. I’m glad to be able to end my season with a win. It’s just a testament to how great Eddie Sharp Racing is. Running the whole ARCA season has prepared me for my next endeavor in racing.”
McDowell also sewed up Rookie of the Year honors and second place in national championship points.
Buescher settled for second two lengths away in the Mercedes Homes-Red Line Oil Dodge.
“We were just kind of buying time making laps there at the beginning of the race, riding
Michael McDowell crosses his #2 under the flagstand to win at Toledo. (ARCA / Robert Costanzo Photos)
around the top-five,” said Buescher. “We were leading the lap before the last lap so wish we could have won it. We started off our ARCA season with a win and I wish we could have ended it with a win but I’m happy with second place.”
Frank Kimmel, who finished fifth, secured his ninth ARCA RE/MAX Series championship and eighth consecutive just by virtue of rolling off the grid.
“It’s just real cool and very rewarding,” said Kimmel. “To be able to win this championship despite all of the competitive teams in ARCA this year. Michael [McDowell] and Eddie Sharp Racing put a lot of pressure on us and they made us want to run well. We struggled this year with all kinds of adversity. We didn’t have a sponsor and despite the problems we had the team stuck together and it was good to be able to win a ninth championship.”
In all, McDowell dominated the race leading 166 laps with Buescher next on the lap-leader board with 27 laps led. Justin Allgaier was the only other driver to lead with seven laps led.
Second-generation ARCA racer Michael Simko charged from the 19th starting position to finish third.
“This was absolutely the most fun I’ve had all year,” said Simko. “To run with a different series all year and then come to Salem and finish sixth and to finish third at Toledo after starting 19th is just really rewarding. We knew we had a car better than where we qualified and we proved that here today.”
Marc Davis, a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished fourth in a Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet in his career-first series start.
Todd Bowsher, who started 23rd, finished sixth in the AmericanConsumerCables.com Ford, earning the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger honors for advancing the most positions.
Justin Marks finished seventh in the Construct Corps Dodge with Patrick Sheltra trailing in eighth in the US Construction-CP Concrete Products Chevrolet. Rookie Ray Mooi finished ninth in the Dodge Motorsports Dodge, the last car on the lead lap. Phillip McGilton finished 10th in the SI Performance Ford, one lap down.
There were 13 cautions for 72 laps for a variety of typical short-track scuffles. There were no injuries.
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the national championship awards banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky on Saturday, December 8th.
Michael McDowell won the race at Toledo (Top), while by just starting the event, Frank Kimmel locked up the championship.