By Jay Hardin of Track Enterprises
September 26, 2012 DuQuoin, IL-Nine time ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menard’s champion Frank Kimmel is in the hunt for a record tenth crown but stands eighty-five markers behind current point leader Chris Buescher with two events left on the 2012 schedule. Years ago Kimmel would have dreaded the ARCA dirt track events but he is anxiously awaiting the October 14 Federated Car Care-Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds and the opportunity to make up ground in the title chase.
Kimmel is a five time winner of the Southern Illinois 100 at DuQuoin and the “Don” of active ARCA dirt track drivers with fourteen wins on clay surfaces, thirteen alone between the Illinois dirt miles at Springfield and DuQuoin. A record eighth win at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in August set Kimmel up for a run at the championship on Labor Day at DuQuoin but Mother Nature intervened, sending the remnants of Hurricane Issac to the Midwest and canceling the entire racing weekend at the Magic Mile.
Buescher finished two spots ahead of Kimmel at the last ARCA event at Salem Speedway and gained slightly on the veteran but Kimmel is hoping his past record of five wins, 426 laps led and a record 21 consecutive starts on the Magic Mile will help him secure a tenth ARCA crown. His task won’t be easy.
Championship rival Buescher is the defending Federated-Southern Illinois 100 winner leading the last sixty miles of the 2011 event for his first ARCA dirt track win and giving the Roulo Brothers Racing Team from Chicago their second Southern Illinois 100 trophy. Dirt track ‘ringers’ such as Kevin Swindell, 2010 Southern Illinois 100 winner Steve Arpin, UMP driving champs Rodney Melvin and Ryan Unzicker join local favorites such as Centralia’s Joe Cooksey and Springfield’s Kelly Kovski in search of a DuQuoin victory.
The schedule for the postponed Federated-Southern Illinois 100 has altered slightly with practice for the ARCA series at 10 a.m., pole qualifying at 12 noon and the 60th Federated Car Care Southern Illinois 100 slated to take the green at 2 p.m. The UMP Modified Bill Oldani Memorial also returns running their entire program on October 14 with the ARCA Series. Promoter Track Enterprises reports tickets are still available for the event.