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.
Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.
VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.
“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”
In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.
VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.
“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”
As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.
Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter