ARCA Winner Bill Kimmel Sr. Passes At 91

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Bill Kimmel Sr., an ARCA Menards Series race winner and father of two series champions, passed away at age 91. (ARCA Racing)
Bill Kimmel Sr., an ARCA Menards Series race winner and father of two series champions, passed away at age 91. (ARCA Racing Photo)

TOLEDO, Ohio – Bill Kimmel Sr., a three-time winner in the ARCA Menards Series in the 1970s, father of series veterans and champions Bill and Frank Kimmel and grandfather of current drivers Will and Frankie Kimmel, passed away July 30 at his home of natural causes at the age of 91.

Bill Kimmel Sr. drove his first race in 1949 at Sportsdrome Speedway in Jeffersonville, Ind., and raced for a living from the 1950s through the 1980s, winning more than 500 feature races and 12 track championships throughout the Midwest. In addition to driving in MARC/ARCA Series races for four decades, he was a consistent winner in the rough and tumble open wheel sprint cars of that time period.

All three of his sons, Thom, Bill and Frank, became successful race drivers.

Frank and Bill Jr. both won multiple championships driving locally at tracks including Charlestown Speedway, Sportsdrome Speedway and Louisville Motor Speedway. Frank moved to the ARCA Menards Series in 1992, earning Rookie of the Year honors and after winning four consecutive track championship at Louisville, in 1999 Bill joined the ARCA team Frank drove for owned by Larry Clement.

With Frank driving and Bill the crew chief the team won eight consecutive ARCA Menards Series championships from 2000-2007 and propelled Frank to become the all-time winningest driver in series history with 90 victories. The driver he surpassed, Iggy Katona, counted Bill Kimmel Sr. as among his toughest competition for many seasons in the series.

Bill Kimmel Sr.’s grandsons Will and Frankie are also both ARCA Menards Series drivers and champions local tracks including Salem Speedway and Sportsdrome Speedway.