TOLEDO, Ohio – Not only did Frank Kimmel draw closer to Chris Buescher in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship standings with his victory Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, but he also trimmed Buescher’s lead in the Bill France Four Crown standings.
The season-within-a-season points chase will conclude at Salem Speedway next month after races on a superspeedway (Michigan) and a road course (New Jersey), and Sunday’s event on the fairgrounds dirt mile. Buescher leads with 570 points, but Kimmel’s 200 points for winning at Springfield have him at 540.
Alex Bowman is third at 530. Buescher can clinch the award with a finish of sixth or better at Salem, or Kimmel can win the award by topping Bowman by any margin and Buescher by seven or more positions at Salem.
Kimmel lauded the work of Sunday’s race promoter, Bob Sargent, in preparing the fairgrounds track after rain dampened the surface before teams arrived in the morning. The start of the opening practice was delayed by 45 minutes, but all teams had the opportunity to practice for a full hour, as was originally scheduled.
“This is racing country right here,” Kimmel said. “Bob Sargent and his entire crew did a super job. It rained this morning and it didn’t faze them a bit. This track stayed down and it was probably as nice as it was all day at the end. What a great opportunity to go out and win a race. It was great for the guys from ThorSport, Ansell, and Menards after the way it’s run the last few races.”
Kimmel, whose win was his sixth consecutive top-five dating back to the July 13 race at Iowa Speedway, earned the Aaron’s Lap Leader Award for the race by leading a race-high 51. He also led more than half of the Berlin Raceway event eight days earlier.
Even after a top-five of his own, Buescher acknowledged the heat Kimmel is applying in pursuit of the 2012 series title.
“We’ve got a proven, tough competitor to put up with for this tough points chase,” he said. “Frank’s going to be really good, and he’s proving it right now.”