KIMMEL HAS LUCK ON THIS SIDE THIS TIME by Don Radebaugh
Rookie AJ Fike Coming, But Mother Nature Comes First
Kimmel, currently third on the all-time win list with 53, is now just one away from tying Jack Bowsher’s runner-up mark of 54. Iggy Katona leads with 79.
Berlin sportsman division regular Billy Shotko wowed the locals with a stellar, and career-best third place finish in the Request Foods Pontiac in front of outside polesitter Brent Sherman, who steered the Serta Mattress-Hickory Farms Ford to the finish in fourth. Rookie TJ Bell, in Brad Kemp’s unsponsored Chevy Monte Carlo, finished a career-best fifth.
Like two schoolmasters demonstrating their knowledge
"King Kimmel" is now one win away from taking over second on the all-time ARCA list.
Kimmel, with a very hungry rookie steadily reeling him in, was right where he needed to be when rain began pelting the storied short-track oval just past the halfway point. Rain persisted for the remainder of the evening prompting series officials to call it an official race with 116 of 200 laps completed.
“We’d rather race for it, but we’ll take this too,” said Kimmel. “We were a little lucky tonight; right place, right time thing, but we also had a great car. We made our pit stop, and we were good to go the distance. Freddie (Campbell) was fast, maybe a little better than we were on the long runs. The 11 car was comin’ too.”
The 11-car referral was for rookie AJ Fike, who after posting the fastest practice speeds earlier in the day, was steadily gaining on the eventual winner when Mother Nature stepped in.
“Frank’s car seemed real good on the short runs where ours was better on the long runs,” said Fike, who finished a career-best second in Andy Hillenburg’s Ray Farms Pontiac. “If we could have gone green for awhile, I know we could have got there. We weren’t planning on pitting again, so we were good to go, but I’m not prepared to say that I could have passed a five-time champion if we even got there.”
Five-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel is not only good, he’s also lucky. And, he was both Saturday night at Berlin Raceway where the current point leader won the GFS Marketplace 200 aboard Larry Clement’s #46 Advance Auto Parts-Pork Ford.
of the subject, 10-time Berlin late model track champion Fred Campbell and Kimmel thrilled the audience early on with bumper-to-bumper, side-by-side racing for the lead while Fike apparently took notes. However, Campbell pitted too late to be able to mount another challenge before the rain came. Campbell had to settle for ninth.
Sixteen-year-old Josh Allison, in only his fourth series start, finished a career-best sixth over series veteran Billy Venturini, who finished seventh in the Melling Cylinder Sleeves Chevrolet. Joe Cooksey, in the 1-800-SERVPRO Chevrolet, finished eighth. Todd Bowsher, in the GFS Marketplace Ford, finished tenth.
Fred Campblell (right) led the ARCA field to the green at Berlin.
Campbell also won the Pork Pole award for the second consecutive season. Kimmel picked up the Bennigan’s Halfway Lap Leader award. Fast Track Racing Enterprises, with Fike aboard, won the Gladiator GarageWorks Gladiator of the Race honors. Fike also won the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions.
The next event for the ARCA RE/MAX Series will be the Kentucky 150 on 700 WLW Pole Night at Kentucky Speedway Friday night, July 9. The race is live on SPEED Channel from 8 to 10 pm eastern.
Frank Kimmel (#46) had to hold off AJ Fike (#11) in the rain shortened race. (ARCA photos)