TOLEDO, Ohio – The 2012 ARCA Racing Series season is coming down to 19-year-old Chris Buescher and 50-year-old veteran Frank Kimmel, in more ways than one.
This is not to say that rookie Brennan Poole is not still in the championship hunt. Currently third in championship points, The Woodlands, Texas driver is still very much in the big picture.
However, in matters of the Bill France Four Crown championship, it’s boiling down to Buescher and Kimmel. Buescher, who leads Kimmel in the overall championship point standings, also leads Kimmel in the pursuit of the prestigious season-within-a-season Bill France Four Crown Award, which rewards drivers for success on a diverse slate of tracks.
The next challenge in the four-race trick will be the Four Crown finale at Salem Speedway Sept. 15. Currently, Buescher leads Kimmel by 30 points. A top six finish for Buescher would secure the title.
The Four Crown schedule provides a link to the series’ roots, featuring a diverse combination of tracks in any given season. This year’s schedule includes Michigan Int’l Speedway (superspeedway), New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course), Springfield (mile dirt oval), and Salem (short track).
“The Bill France Four Crown Award speaks to the very nature of the ARCA Racing Series. Being the full-bodied stock car series that runs on speedways, road courses, short tracks, and dirt ovals, this is the epitome of what our series is about,” said Ron Drager, president of ARCA.
Buescher won at Michigan, finished third at New Jersey, and finished fifth at Springfield. However, Kimmel gained on Buescher significantly at Springfield where the nine-time ARCA champion earned a record eighth career victory on the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile dirt.
Headed to Salem, both drivers have performed well on the renowned, historic half-mile oval in southern Indiana. Buescher is the defending Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic winner while Kimmel, who’s won a record nine ARCA races at Salem, finished second there back in April.
“I’ve been watching that one (Bill France Four Crown),” Buescher said. “I’d love to be able to put my name on that, and it’d be especially nice to do it at Salem. We’re bringing the same car we won with last year, so I feel like we’re going to be ready for it.”
Gary Roulo, co-owner of Roulo Brothers Racing, also has a keen eye on the award.
“It would be a very big deal for Roulo Brothers Racing,” Roulo said. “The namesake of the award is especially important; the fact that it’s named after Bill France. That’s a big deal in our industry. And the fact that the award represents the versatility of the series is also very important. It’s a very prestigious award, and it’s one we’d be very proud of.”
Four Crown points are allocated without qualifying or in-race bonuses, and distributed in the same method as in the official series standings.
Kimmel is the all-time Bill France Four Crown champion with six titles (2008, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1998). Other Four Crown champions over the years include Joey Coulter, Parker Kligerman, Jason Jarrett, Tim Steele, Bob Keselowski, Bobby Bowsher, Bill Venturini, Grant Adcox, Lee Raymond and Davey Allison.