ARCA Town: Banquet Festivities and News
The Off Season Still Has Its Share of ARCA Announcements
Frank Kimmel appears with the hardware that he received for winning the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship. (ARCA Photos)
KIMMEL LEADS LIST OF HONOREES AT BANQUET
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.
As a preamble to the 55th annual ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship awards banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, several key announcements took center stage during the annual series press conference in Covington, Kentucky Saturday afternoon.
ARCA, RE/MAX Extend Title Sponsorship Agreement
Officials of the ARCA racing sanctioning body and global real estate franchisor RE/MAX International have announced a series title sponsorship extension under which RE/MAX will continue in its role as the exclusive title sponsor of ARCA's premier racing series, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, through 2011.
Erin Crocker (L) and car owner Ray Evernham (C) accept the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship award.
"This extension is a direct result of the proven track record of the series title sponsorship, the high level of return on investment the sponsorship provides to RE/MAX, the excellent business relationship between ARCA, RE/MAX and SPEED, and the high level of confidence RE/MAX has developed with the entire ARCA organization," said RE/MAX Vice President Randy Morse.
"On behalf of RE/MAX, I'm proud to confirm that RE/MAX is extending its commitment as the ARCA RE/MAX Series title sponsor through 2011. We are pleased to continue our partnership with ARCA, which has solidly established its motorsports industry position and continues to be a model of consistency and credibility in the sport."
The RE/MAX real estate network, founded in 1973, continues its exponential growth. RE/MAX now operates in over 7,000 offices worldwide with more than 120,000 affiliates.
ARCA, SPEED Extend Partnership Through 2011
Officials of the ARCA RE/MAX Series and SPEED have announced a four-year agreement under which SPEED will continue to televise ARCA RE/MAX Series events through 2011.
"SPEED and ARCA have a strong relationship dating back to 1997," said Rick Miner, Senior VP Production & Network Operations. "And in 2008, we look forward to continuing that relationship. The ARCA RE/MAX Series provides great racing with wonderful storylines, already scoring some of the best motorsports ratings on the network. With more live racing in 2008, we believe the fans will support this series like never before. We expect this to be a classic 'win-win' for ARCA and SPEED."
The agreement also calls for a minimum of 10 events to be aired each season with continued
efforts to grow the number of televised races. The number of televised events in 2008 has already increased to 11.
"As a driver, Dexter not only brings a stellar record of achievement, but also a respected reputation for consistency and determination," said team owner Jeff Spraker. "All of his accomplishments have been achieved with his family-run operation. With Glock's sponsorship, Dexter on board with my team, we have all the tools for a successful season."
Kimmel Racing Announces Alliance with Cunningham Motorsports
Nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, who parted ways with longtime car owner Larry Clement in October, announced that he has formed his own Kimmel Racing team, a partnership between himself and his brother/crew chief Bill Kimmel. In addition, Kimmel also announced that Kimmel Racing has formed an alliance with Cunningham Motorsports, Kerry Scherer and Mark Gibson to run for the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship. Kimmel, who won eight of his nine championships in Fords, also announced that he would be switching to Dodges for 2008.
SPEED's coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2008 begins at Daytona Int'l Speedway Saturday, February 9 with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 45th Daytona ARCA 200 at 4:00 pm eastern, and concludes with the season championship finale at Toledo Speedway October 12th.
In addition to Daytona and Toledo, events scheduled for live coverage in '08 include Iowa Speedway on April 19, Kansas Speedway on April 26, Rockingham Speedway on May 4, Pocono Raceway on June 7, Michigan Int'l Speedway on June 13, Kentucky Speedway on July 11, Nashville Superspeedway on August 9, Chicagoland Speedway on September 6 and Talladega Superspeedway on October 3. .
Spraker Racing Announces Contract Renewal with Glock, Dexter Bean to Drive in 2008
Spraker Racing Enterprises announced that they have renewed with Team Glock Racing for the 2008 season. Westby, Wisconsin driver Dexter Bean, who finished third in ARCA RE/MAX Series national championship points in 2007, was announced as the driver. The no. 37 Glock Chevrolet was unveiled during the press conference.
There will be RE/MAX signs in ARCA victory lane for a long time - and it's a good bet that Frank Kimmel will be back there a few times himself as well.
Clement Goes with Carter for 2008
Longtime car owner Larry Clement announced that Matt Carter, son of longtime NASCAR team owner Travis Carter, will drive Clement's no. 46 Ford Tauruses in 2008, the same ride recently vacated by Frank Kimmel.
BGR Announces Return of Bobby Gerhart to Driver's Seat for Daytona, Krisiloff to Run BGR Team Car
Bobby Gerhart Racing (BGR) announced that 5-time Daytona ARCA 200 winner Bobby Gerhart, injured at Pocono Raceway in July of 2007, will return to the cockpit for the first time for the upcoming December 14, 15 and 16 ARCA RE/MAX Series open test at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Team owner/crew chief Bill Gerhart also announced that Lucas Oil, Eagle Warranty and AT Construction would be returning as sponsors of the no. 5 BGR Chevrolet for the 2008 season.
Bobby Gerhart will be shooting for an unprecedented sixth Daytona ARCA 200 victory, and fourth consecutive at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. BGR also announced that Kyle Krisiloff would be the driver of its no. 7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo team car for Daytona. Krisiloff won in a BGR entry at Chicagoland Speedway in 2004.
ESR Announces Ken Butler III as Fulltime Driver in 2008
With veteran Formula One driver Scott Speed already secured as the driver of Eddie Sharp Racing's no 2 Toyota Camry for 2008 with title sponsorship from Red Bull, Sharp announced that Ken Butler III would be the driver of his no. 22 ESR Toyota for the full 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. Butler made 11 starts in the no. 22 ESR car in 2007 posting one win at Toledo Speedway back in May.
Sheltra Unveils New Marketing Partners, Announces Full Campaign for 2008
Sheltra Motorsports officially announced that the Kentucky-based operation would return for a full championship effort in 2008 with Indiantown, Florida's Patrick Sheltra as the driver. The team unveiled their new camouflage paint scheme to include new marketing partners' Ferguson Pipe Enterprises, American Concrete Industries, Inc., Hardie Pipe, Indiantown Marina, Drug Discovery Testing (DDT), All About Flowers, Speed Media and Casite Products. Sheltra Motorsports also announced it would divide the season between two manufacturers - Dodge and Chevrolet.
"We are extremely excited about the direction of our team," said driver Patrick Sheltra. "We have worked hard since the conclusion of the 2007 season to make sure that next year is an unforgettable year for our team and I feel with the support of our new and existing marketing partners we're off to a great start to make the 2008 season a memorable one."
Darrell Basham Racing Announces New Sponsors for 2008
Darrell Basham Racing announced that Eagle Hoist & Winch Company would sponsor the team's no. 34 car in 2008 along with Anti Monkey Butt Powder, which returns as a sponsor for the second consecutive season. Darrell Basham Racing also announced that rookie Jackson Humanic would drive Basham's second car in as many as a half-dozen races in 2008.
ARCA VP of Marketing & Communications Mark Gundrum made several series announcements during the press conference to include the following:
Dodge Motorsports Program Manager Chad Hignite announced that Dodge would return as the Official Pace Car of the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2008.
Racing Electronics, the official two-way communication provider of ARCA since 1996, announced a five-year contract extension under which they will remain as the Official Two-Way Communications Provider for ARCA. In addition, RE will continue to sponsor the Racing Electronics Lightning Challenge Award for the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series.
Bilstein Shocks, a participating manufacturer in the Performance Partners Program for several years, has agreed to increase their program involvement with the ARCA RE/MAX Series by becoming the Official Shock for a three-year period extending through 2010.
Eibach Springs announced a three-year agreement that positions Eibach as the Official Spring Provider of the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Beginning with the ARCA 200 at Daytona in February, BSR Racing Products will make available spec Eibach Springs, which are mandated for use at Daytona Int'l Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, the two restrictor plate events on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule.
Mr. Gasket/Mallory Ignition, whose ignition box is mandated on all ARCA RE/MAX Series cars, announced an extension of the program through the 2011 season. Since the Mallory CT Pro System was first initiated in 2005, limiting engine RPMs to 8,800, the ARCA RE/MAX Series mandated Mallory ignition system has had 0 failures.
Aaron's Brings Lucky Dog to ARCA
Gundrum closed his announcements by informing that Aaron's has agreed to become an Official Sponsor of the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2008 which includes the introduction of the Lucky Dog award.
EVENT SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS
Salem Speedway: The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers have agreed to title sponsorship of the spring ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Salem Speedway for the next two years reported track management. The 2008 Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 marks the 12th consecutive year the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers have sponsored the event. In addition, Eddie Gilstrap Motors will return as title sponsor of the September Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic for the 15th consecutive season.
Daytona Test Coming
The next scheduled activity for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be a three-day open test at Daytona Int'l Speedway on December 14, 15 and 16.
Dexter Bean's new ride is unveiled.
Patrick Sheltra's 2008 car is a bright one.