Kimmel, in his own Ford Drive One Ford, led 83 of 102 laps en route to his seventh win on the historic fairgrounds mile-dirt, tying the late Dean Roper with the most Allen Crowe 100 wins at Springfield.
“What a great crowd of fans,” said Kimmel. “This Ford Fusion ran well all day long. It’s very cool to be named in the same category as Dean Roper. He was a hero of mine growing up and so this is pretty cool. We’ve had some really good cars here over the years, but this one is probably the best ever. We can’t wait to take the Ford Drive One Ford to DuQuoin.”
Kimmel also smashed the one-lap track record earlier in the day with an average speed of 109.496 mph, surpassing the old mark of 107.778 set by Damon Lusk in 2006.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., in the Roush Fenway Racing Ford, passed Brian Tyler on the final lap to finish second, five lengths behind Kimmel.
“I was just trying to get every spot I could,” said Stenhouse. “I would have liked to run up there with Frank [Kimmel]. We were a little tight in turn two all day. I headed into this race third in the point standings and it ended up being a pretty good points day today.”
Stenhouse’s runner-up finish also earned the Olive Branch, Mississippi driver the SunTrust Rookie of the Race award.
Tyler, who won the USAC Silver Crown Series race at Springfield the day before, settled for third in the Jet Star-Nline Apparel Toyota.
“I thought I had second but when I got into turn three over there I let Ricky get underneath me,” said Tyler. “I guess I’ll settle for third today. It’s fun to do these races. Car owner said if we keep it one piece today, we get to take it to DuQuoin, so that’s good.”
SunTrust Rookie Matt Carter, in his career first dirt-track race, finished fourth in the Hantz
Group-Stine Seed Ford, followed by Tayler Malsam, who drove the Dodge Development
Dodge to fifth in the final running order from the 14th starting position.
Ron Cox, who started outside row one, raced into the lead at the start and opened up a
10-length advantage over Kimmel and Dexter Bean. Then Bean out-maneuvered Cox and
Kimmel in lapped traffic with a three-wide pass to lead the 13th lap before Kimmel reasserted
himself as the leader on lap 16. Kimmel handed the lead to Doug Keller on lap 27 while the
eventual winner pitted for gas only under caution. When racing resumed, Kimmel wasted
no time getting back to the front, passing Keller on lap 31. Outside of AJ Fike, who got within
a length of Kimmel a time or two, no one else got close enough to mount a challenge as
Kimmel led the rest of way to earn his 72nd career series victory. Fike, who ran second
most of the race, finished 30th after falling out with engine failure on lap 78.
Justin Allgaier finished sixth in the Hoosier Midwest-AG Tech-Schlossers Chevrolet. Tom
Hessert, III finished seventh after starting 19th, earning Casite Hard Charger honors in the
Maaco Auto Painting America’s Body Shop Ford.
Point leader Scott Speed, making his first dirt-track start, was eighth in the Red Bull Toyota
with local Springfield favorite Kelly Kovski trailing in ninth in the Central Illinois Security-Levi
Home Construction Chevrolet. Keller finished 10th in the Van Am Tool & Engineering Chevrolet.
Kimmel also cleaned up in special awards earning the SIM Factory Pole award, the Klotz
Halfway Leader award, the Aaron’s Lap Leader award and the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race.
Kimmel’s brother Bill Kimmel was the Cometic Crew Chief of the Race.
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin
State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois Labor Day September 1st. Defending race winner Ken Schrader has already filed an entry.