Frank Kimmel celebrates 10th ARCA crown with Kansas win

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After clinching his 10th career ARCA championship earlier Friday during practice, Frank Kimmel became the stock car series’ all-time wins leader last night at Kansas Speedway.

In a weather-shortened Kansas Lottery 98.9, Kimmel scored his 80th ARCA triumph, which broke a tie for the top spot with six-time ARCA champ Iggy Katona.

“It’s been just a phenomenal year for the entire team,” Kimmel told The Associated Press. “The guys have worked extremely hard. The cars have been really good this year – just a model of consistency – and that’s what it takes in a points race.”

Kimmel pitted on Lap 20, but stayed out to take the lead while most of the leaders pitted following a crash. He kept the lead through the halfway point, and on Lap 55, ARCA officials made the call to end the race at 65 laps with severe weather approaching the 1.5-mile oval.

In the final laps, Kimmel was able to keep Mason Mitchell behind him en route to the historic victory. John Wes Townley, pole sitter Dylan Kwasniewski and Justin Boston rounded out the Top 5.

Last night’s race also marked the end of 79-year-old James Hylton’s driving career. Hylton, a three-time championship runner-up in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 18th in his final race.

Prior to Hylton’s last ride, five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson praised Hylton as someone who was “truly passionate and loves our sport.”

“Every time I see him out there in that No. 48, it puts a big smile on my face,” Johnson said.

IndyCar Power Rankings: Pato O’Ward moves to the top entering Texas Motor Speedway


The NBC Sports IndyCar power rankings naturally were as jumbled as the action on the streets of St. Petersburg after a chaotic opener to the 2023 season.

Pato O’Ward, who finished second because of an engine blip that cost him the lead with a few laps remaining, moves into the top spot ahead of St. Pete winner Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi, who finished fourth in his Arrow McLaren debut. Scott Dixon and St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who led 31 laps) rounded out the top five.

St. Pete pole-sitter Romain Grosjean (who started first at St. Pete after capturing his second career pole position) Callum Ilott (a career-best fifth) and Graham Rahal entered the power rankings entering the season’s second race.

Three drivers fell out of the preseason top 10 after the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – including previously top-ranked Josef Newgarden, who finished 17th after qualifying 14th.

Heading into Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through the first of 17 races this year (with previous preseason rankings in parenthesis):

NBC Sports’ IndyCar Power Rankings

1. Pato O’Ward (5) – If not for the dreaded “plenum event” in the No. 5 Chevrolet, the Arrow McLaren driver is opening the season with a victory capping a strong race weekend.

2. Marcus Ericsson (7) – He might be the most opportunistic driver in IndyCar, but that’s because the 2022 Indy 500 winner has become one of the series’ fastest and most consistent stars.

3. Alexander Rossi (10) – He overcame a frustrating Friday and mediocre qualifying to open his Arrow McLaren career with the sort of hard-earned top five missing in his last years at Andretti.

4. Scott Dixon (3) – Put aside his opening-lap skirmish with former teammate Felix Rosenqvist, and it was a typically stealthily good result for the six-time champion.

5. Romain Grosjean (NR) – The St. Petersburg pole-sitter consistently was fastest on the streets of St. Petersburg over the course of the race weekend, which he couldn’t say once last year.

6. Scott McLaughlin (6) – Easily the best of the Team Penske drivers before his crash with Grosjean, McLaughlin drove like a legitimate 2023 championship contender.

7. Callum Ilott (NR) – A quietly impressive top five for the confident Brit in Juncos Hollinger Racing’s first race as a two-car team. Texas will be a big oval litmus test.

8. Graham Rahal (NR) – Sixth at St. Pete, Rahal still has the goods on street courses, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan remains headed in the right direction.

9. Alex Palou (4) – He seemed a step behind Ericsson and Dixon in the race after just missing the Fast Six in qualifying, but this was a solid start for Palou.

10. Will Power (2) – An uncharacteristic mistake that crashed Colton Herta put a blemish on the type of steady weekend that helped him win the 2022 title.

Falling out (last week): Josef Newgarden (1), Colton Herta (8), Christian Lundgaard (9)