Short-track roots are calling. The grand ole speedway awaits. And at no other place is the ARCA Racing Series, presented by RE/MAX and Menards, more rooted than Salem Speedway where the series has been a staple for more than 50 years.
It started at the historical southern-Indiana high-banked short-track in 1955, and, for the most part, it’s never stopped. Nor has the race fans hunger for one of the country’s most thrilling and worthwhile short-track classics. ARCA Racing Series race event number 88 at Salem is on the way with the upcoming Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic on Saturday night, September 18.
As always, it’s loaded with stories of local drivers, far away flavor, rookies, veterans and a championship chase that is going down to the wire.
From the veteran side, not to mention the local angle, Frank Kimmel charges to the forefront. The nine-time champ hails from nearby Borden, Ind., and like his father before him, he learned the ropes at Salem. He’s also the all-time ARCA winner at Salem with an incredible nine victories. There was a time over a three year span that Kimmel won an amazing five consecutive races at Salem. But that was then, and this is now. In fact, Kimmel has been winless in ARCA competition since visiting victory lane at Salem in September of 2008.
Despite the 39 race winless streak (heading into Monday’s race at the DuQuoin mile-dirt), Kimmel, who ranks second in career ARCA wins, finds himself squarely in the midst of the 2010 championship race. A championship that will no doubt still be undecided when the teams head to Rockingham for the season finale in early October.
With five races remaining in the 2010 season (DuQuoin, Toledo, Salem, Kansas and Rockingham) just 25 points separate the top four drivers in the standings. North Carolina’s Craig Goess leads the way (3,670) with Kimmel second (3,665) and Florida’s Patrick Sheltra, currently the hottest driver on the circuit and a former Salem winner, third (3,660). New Jersey’s Tom Hessert is currently fourth (3,645).
How did the championship contenders do at Salem in April? They were just about as close as the current standings, with Goess finishing second, Sheltra fourth, Hessert fifth and Kimmel eighth.
Steve Arpin of Fort Frances, Ont., drove the Venturini Motorsports-Tag Heuer Chevrolet to victory in the spring race for his first career ARCA win.
Sharing the high banks with the ARCA Racing Series on September 18th will be the Dave & Deb’s Winner’s Circle Street Stocks.
Spectator gates open on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 11:30 a.m., with Street Stock practice set to begin at 12-noon, followed by ARCA practice at 1:05 p.m. Street Stock qualifications are scheduled for 3 p.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell for the ARCA cars at 4 p.m. The popular on-track autograph session is scheduled to take place from 4:445 to 5:15 p.m. with the start of the Salem 50 for the Street Stocks set for 5:30. The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic 200 is scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. (EDT) start.
Advance tickets, both reserved and general admission, are currently selling for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic and may be purchased by calling 812-883-6504 or toll free 1-888-246-7223.