ELKO, Minn. – Frank Kimmel dominated the last 50 laps of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race Saturday and won the Akona 250 at Elko Speedway.
Kimmel became the first two-time winner of the season and moved within one victory of Iggy Katona’s all-time series record of 79 career wins with the victory in the No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota.
“Feels great,” Kimmel said. “I love this place.”
Kimmel added Elko Speedway to his growing list of tracks that he has won at by taking the lead on lap 200 and staying out front the rest of the way. He had a comfortable lead for most of the rest of the race after restarting second behind Kyle Benjamin after a caution. Kimmel and several other cars pitted for fresh tires while Benjamin did not. Within a few laps of the restart, Kimmel slipped past Benjamin and built his lead.
“Jeriod (Prince) made a great call,” Kimmel said of his crew chief. “We came in and put on two tires there at the end. We went with four tires early and the car ran well. After getting two tires, it took six or seven laps, but after that our car was really good.”
He passed Benjamin eight laps after the re-start and set sail for victory lane in front of a large crowd at Elko Speedway. The Akona 250 presented by Federated Auto Parts was the second race at Elko for the ARCA Racing Series.
“The race was won on that restart,” said runner-up Tom Hessert. “We definitely had something for him, but we needed a caution or something to bunch of the field. I’m happy with second, but then again I’m disappointed. It’s bittersweet. When you finish second, you always think maybe you could have finished first.”
Cunningham Motorsports finished second and third. Hessert was second in his Barbera’s Autoland Dodge while teammate Jonathan Eilen, a native of nearby Hampton, Minn., was third in his Cunningham Motorsports Dodge.
Venturini Motorsports driver Justin Boston finished fourth in the ZLOOP Computer & Electronics Recycling Toyota while pole winner Ken Schrader was fifth in his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. Josh Williams was sixth in the Roulo Brothers Racing Ford.
Benjamin, Spencer Gallagher, Mason Mingus and Thomas Praytor rounded out the top 10. Praytor was the first car not on the lead lap, finishing two laps down. It was his first top 10 finish of the season.
Benjamin, in the Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, started third but was caught up in two early spins that sent him to near the back of the pack. He raced his way to the front and was leading when the last of eight cautions came out. He led a total of 11 laps.