The upcoming ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway will have a decidedly local flavor with four hometown favorites entered.
Will Kimmel (No. 69 FASS Diesel Fuel Systems Ford), of nearby Sellersburg, Indiana, enters Salem fresh off a career-best second-place finish at DuQuoin.
The Kimmel family, including family patriarch Bill Kimmel, Sr., brothers Frank and Bill, and cousins Frankie and Will, all established themselves as winning drivers on the short tracks of southern Indiana. Bill, Sr. has three career ARCA wins, Frank is the all-time leading ARCA winner with 80 wins and 10 national championships, and Bill served as Frank's crew chief for the vast majority of those wins and series titles. Frankie has transitioned into a spotter and driver coach, while Will is still in search of his first career ARCA Racing Series win.
"Finishing second, for a team like ours, was almost like a win," Kimmel said. "We go up against these bigger teams that race with much bigger budgets and we're able to compete with them at places like DuQuoin. We always run good at Salem too. It's an important race for us and we always put a lot of attention and effort into it."
Kimmel's father, and team owner, Bill will field a second entry for seventeen-year-old Baden Stewart (No. 68 Stewart Automotive Ford). Stewart, who resides in Salem, has been a regular competitor in Salem's Great American Stocks division, picking up his first win in a 50-lap feature in August. He currently sits second in the division's point standings with just two races remaining, including a 50-lapper immediately before Saturday's 200-lap ARCA race.
"This is a dream come true," Stewart said. "For a kid from Salem to get a chance to come and race in the ARCA race with the Kimmels is something I only dreamed about. The goal is to go out and run all 200 laps, stay out of trouble, and see where we end up. If we can do that, I think we'll have a good chance to finish in the top ten."
Both drivers will do double duty on Saturday, as they will also compete in the Meadow View/Salem Crossing 50 for the Great American Stocks.
Jack Dossey III (No. 99 Munn's Construction/Norton Trucking/Hart's Auto Toyota) will make his second series start on Saturday. Dossey, from nearby Wanamaker, finished 18th at Salem in April. Dossey, currently second in the CRA Jegs All-Star Tour championship standings, believes his small family-owned team can contend for a top-ten finish at Salem.
“I have a lot of laps at Salem,” Dossey said. “I've run pretty good there in our late model stuff. I am pretty confident going in. The race in the spring didn't go as planned, but I think we can go out and contend for a top ten finish. A top five would be like getting a win. We don't have a huge budget; we do a lot with a little, so to go out and run with the best in the business is huge for us.”
Series regular Mike Basham (No. 34 Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet) will be in search of his second career top ten finish and the first ever at his home track. The Basham family, a part of the ARCA Racing Series since 1973, races out of Henryville, Indiana. The ARCA races at Salem have been a family tradition for as long as he can remember.
“I have been going to Salem my whole life,” Basham said. “I can remember going to Salem when the grandstands were covered and they had a bridge to the infield. I have watched dad race here many times and it is like coming home. My dad was track champion here a few years in a row he even caught the grass on fire once. My uncle, brother, and cousins have all raced at Salem as well. My mom, dad, step mom, uncles, cousins, daughter, and granddaughter will be there and it doesn't get any better than that. I want to run as hard as I can while still trying to take care of the car and try to beat Hillenburg's cars.”
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 at Salem Speedway. Practice is set for 1 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying slated for 4 pm ET, the one-hour on-track driver autograph session is set for 5:45 pm ET, and the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 will go green at 7:15 pm ET. The race will be televised live on MAVTV; ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, track updates, and scanner audio throughout the day for registered users.
-ARCA Press Release
-Photo credit: ARCA