Springfield, IL (August 12, 2013)-Indiana’s Frank Kimmel might get title to the World’s Fastest Mile Dirt Track on Sunday if he can convert his past experience into a record 9th stock car victory at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in the 51st running of the Allen Crowe 100 on Sunday. The current ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menard’s point leader, Kimmel is in search of an unprecedented tenth ARCA series title and a record 80th series victory. Kimmel would seem like the odds on favorite at Springfield, in addition to a record 8 Crowe victories at the Illinois State Fair, he has led the most laps (665), the most races (14), most pole positions (5) in 21 consecutive starts in the Illinois capitol. Throw in the fact that he has completed 1997 miles in competition at Springfield, has the most wins on dirt of any ARCA driver in the modern era and that he averaged a record 95 miles an hour to win last year’s event and it’s easy to see why Kimmel’s odds of winning might be even money. Kimmel currently has a point lead of nearly 200 heading into the 15th of 21 events on the ARCA schedule and while he cannot clinch the crown on the Illinois dirt, it could vault him even further toward a tenth crown.
Approximately 30 other drivers and 100 miles of grueling competition stand in the way of the Indiana veteran. Some are youngsters chasing Kimmel in the ARCA points, others ARCA veterans and many dirt track ‘ringers’ who come out twice a year to ‘play in the clay’ of Illinois.
Southerner (TN) Mason Mingus is second in the ARCA points and looking for his first one mile dirt track start. New Jersey’s Tom Hessert is third and a veteran of USAC and ARCA dirt track competition, in fact he has five Crowe 100 starts with a best finish of third in 2010. Maryland’s Justin Boston is fourth and aligned with the Venturini team, Florida’s Josh Williams is currently fifth. Mason Mitchell of Iowa, Thomas Praytor of Alabama and Spencer Gallagher of Nevada are all in the top ten in points and on the Springfield entry list.
Two females dot the entry list including Venzuela’s Milka Duno, a veteran of the Indianapolis 500 mile race and looking for her first ever dirt track start. Michigan’s Taylor Ferns is a Duno teammate at Venturini and she has experience in midgets and USAC Silver Crown cars.
ARCA regular Will Kimmel is the nephew of Frank and has had some good runs at the two Illinois mile dirt tracks. He is currently ninth in ARCA points. Canadian Andrew Ranger is a veteran of the defunct CART champ car series and he had a great run at DuQuoin two seasons ago. Ageless James Hylton is on his farewell tour and looks to extend his record as the oldest driver ever to start a race at the Illinois State Farigrounds.
Dirt track ringers are all over the entry list and include six drivers from the home state. Galesburg’s A.J. Fike and Benton’s Shane Cockrum will both be coming off 100 miles of racing in Saturday’s USAC Tony Bettenhausen 100 championship race at the Illinois State Fair. Fike won last year’s Bettenhausen race while Cockrum won his first ever POWRi midget race this year. Other Illinois drivers include Mark Littleton of Arenzville, former UMP champion Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Dale Shearer of Alhambra and rookie Spencer Montgomery of Windsor. Another ringer is young Austin Rettig of Sikeston, Missouri.
Practice for the ARCA Series gets underway at the Illinois State Fair Sunday morning at 9 a.m., with pole qualifying at 11 and the 51st Allen Crowe 100 at 1:30. The race is slated to be tape delayed and broadcast later by the NBC Sports Network.