Kimmel Crowned Champion For 10th Time
INDIANAPOLIS — Frank Kimmel was crowned ARCA Racing Series by Menards champion for the 10th time Saturday night.
Kimmel and his ThorSport racing team was the focus of the night, and with good reason. Kimmel not only won his 10th series championship in 2013, he also set the ARCA record for all-time series wins, passing one of his boyhood heroes, Iggy Katona.
“Iggy was a hero, he was my hero,” Kimmel said.
Nearly two-dozen drivers were among those introduced and honored during the ARCA banquet, held for the second straight year in the Indiana Convention Center Saturday night. Justin Boston was honored as SCOTT Rookie of the Year. Mason Mingus took home the Menards Pole Award. Special honorees included James Hylton, Thomas Praytor, Steve York and, of course, the ThorSport Racing team and Kimmel.
“Frank Kimmel has not only won the races and won championships,” said ARCA President Ron Drager, “but he is a champion.”
The black-tie affair attended by hundreds was a special night for several honorees. Hylton won the Marcum Award, presented annually to an individual or entity whose positive efforts have elevated ARCA’s motorsports stature. Steve York, retired Director of Channel Development for Ansell, received the Spirit Award and driver Thomas Praytor received the H.G. Adcox Sportsmanship Award.
Venturini Motorsports driver Justin Boston received the SCOTT Rookie Challenge award. His No. 25 ZLOOP Computer & Recycling Toyota, sat on one side of the ballroom while Kimmel’s No. 44 Ansell-Menards Toyota on the on the other. Toyota received its first ARCA Manufacturer’s Awards.
Kimmel was on stage for numerous sponsor and contingency awards. In addition, he received the Distinguished Hoosier honor, given to him by a representative from Indiana Gov. Michael Pence.
ARCA’s milestone season was highlighted by video excerpts and season recaps that captured the essence of the 2013 season, especially the drivers in the top 20 and top 10 car owners. Several drivers took turns at the podium congratulating and occasionally jabbing at Kimmel and his incredibly consistent season.
“We tried chasing him down at the end, but we fell a little bit short,” said ARCA Racing Series second-place driver Mason Mingus, who received the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell.
ThorSport’s Bryan Griffin was named Klotz Engine Mechanic of the Year while his Kimmel’s crew chief, Jeriod Prince, was honored as the Cometic Crew Chief of the Year award.
Kimmel finished in the top 10 in every race of the 2013 season, extending his streak to more than 30 races in two years.
“That sort of performance under the hood is one of the main reasons this team is up here,” Drager said, in honoring Griffin and Prince.
Prince brought the entire ThorSport team on stage while accepting the crew chief award. He thanked other ARCA teams for sometimes pitching in when the team needed an extra hand.
“It’s that little stuff in this series that makes it big,” Prince said.
Prince also thanked his team for their efforts.
“To me, the main reason we are up here goes back two years,” he said. “No DNF’s, no destroyed race cars. That comes down to the guys and the driver.”
Kimmel, who received a 10 karat gold ring from Hoosier’s Dennis Sherman among his special awards, said it was a special night to spend with his family and friends. His father, Bill Kimmel Sr. was among those in attendance.
“Dad started all of this,” he said. “It’s been a rewarding life we’ve got to live.”