Tense moments to ARCA finish
Rookie Dillon wins Menards 200 after spin out of veteran Kimmel
Ty Dillon, grandson of NASCAR legend Richard Childress, celebrates with his pit crew after winning the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway.
An apologetic winner and a riled up former champion came face to face when the Menards 200 race at Toledo Speedway ended Sunday, and before rookie Ty Dillon could claim the trophy he had to first take a flurry of verbal shots from a highly animated Frank Kimmel.
With just over 10 laps to go in the ARCA Series event, and Kimmel holding the lead, Dillon made contact with the rear of Kimmel’s car, sending the nine-time ARCA champ spinning while Dillon scooted around the outside and into the lead.
Dillon, the grandson of NASCAR racing legend Richard Childress, held off the field for his second win in four races this season. After a victory lap he had a tense encounter with Kimmel, who yanked the checkered flag from Dillon’s hand and threw it as Dillon remained inside his car.
“I just asked him how could you celebrate a win like that,” Kimmel said moments after the confrontation that had crew members from both teams and ARCA officials pressed around Dillon’s car. “That’s not a win in my book.”
Dillon, driving a car sponsored by Toledo racing icon Ron Hemelgarn, didn’t dodge responsibility for clipping Kimmel.
“I hate that it happened. I don’t race like that. I hate I did that,” Dillon said. “I didn’t want to spin him out. It’s racin’. It happens.”
Dillon, who started 23rd after rain washed out qualifying on Saturday and last year’s owner points set the starting grid, led only the final segment of the race. Kimmel led 125 of the 200 laps and finished ninth. He held off numerous challenges by Dillon down the stretch before they tangled in turn two.
“The cars were pretty even ... and I don’t think he was going to get past me,” Kimmel said. “I thought the car was good enough to stay ahead of him. I wasn’t blocking, I was just running my line as hard as I could run it.”
Frank Kimmel has words for winner Ty Dillon (in car) after the ARCA race. Kimmel led for 125 laps, but was spun out by Dillon with 10 laps left.
From the vantage point of Kimmel, who has nine ARCA Series wins at Toledo Speedway, Dillon’s move was deliberate and inexcusable.
“He just hit me wherever he could and he spun me around, and it’s just terrible,” Kimmel said. “It’s just frustrating as heck because you race so hard and you race clean, and we didn’t have a scratch on the car all day.”
Kimmel and Dillon had an amicable relationship up to this point, but Kimmel indicated that those days are over.
“You just learn that you can’t trust somebody,” Kimmel said. “Eventually you see the true colors of somebody and when they spin you like that ... I just can’t imagine somebody celebrating a win like that. I couldn’t do it.”
Dillon held off runner-up Grant Enfinger, and third-place finisher Matt Merrell over the last two re-starts and won his fourth ARCA race in seven starts.
“The car was great from the start. We knew we had the fastest car,” said Dillon, whose win got mixed reaction from a large Toledo Speedway crowd that braved the wind and cold to take in the race.
Kenzie Ruston, a 19-year-old from Oklahoma who was making her ARCA debut, led 15 laps early in the race and finished 10th. Enfinger was out front for 35 laps in the middle stages of the race, while NASCAR Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton led 13 laps before fading to finish 18th.
Canadian driver Maryeve Dufault got tangled up in a crash early in the race and finished 23rd. Napoleon High School sophomore Jared Marks, who was also making his ARCA debut, came in 13th.
Chris Buescher, a two-time winner in ARCA races at Toledo Speedway, worked his way back after a mishap early in the race to finish fifth.
Contact Matt Markey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6510.