Bill Kimmel Sr., the patriarch of the Kimmel Racing family, has been named Grand Marshal of the upcoming Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic presented by Meadow View/Salem Crossing at Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery.
Kimmel, who was raised in nearby Hardinsburg, Ind., was a fixture on the local and national racing scene for over 35 years. The former multi-track champion was a three-time winner in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competition.
“We’re certainly happy to have Bill Sr. involved with the Eddie Gilstrap Motors ARCA Fall Classic,” said track general manager Richard Deaton. “He and his family have been an integral part of the ARCA Racing Series and Salem Speedway for many years.”
Both of Bill’s sons, Frank Kimmel and Bill Kimmel Jr., have won races at Salem, as has his two grandsons, Will Kimmel and Frank Kimmel II. In all, the Kimmel clan has combined to visit victory lane on 36 occasions at Salem through the years.
Frank, a 10-time ARCA Racing Series champion, holds the record for most ARCA victories at Salem with nine career wins to his credit.
Will, a former Salem Speedway Late Model champion, will be competing in the Sept. 9 Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic 200 in his family-owned Ford Fusion.
Bill Sr., who sat on the pole for the prestigious “Little 500” at Anderson Speedway in 1958, was never able to come home a winner at Salem despite leading races on the high-banked oval on numerous occasions.
In fact, Kimmel was fortunate not to have lost his life at Salem in a spectacular sprint car accident during a July 1960 race. Battling for a transfer position in the consolation race, Kimmel spun in his own oil exiting turn two. According to a newspaper account, his car skidded along the guardrail for 40 yards before flipping over the rail and landing upside down in a cluster of trees that lined the backstretch. The car that Kimmel crashed in had no rollcage.
Kimmel, who turns 89 on September 13, is the second oldest living ARCA winner. He is scheduled for induction into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame in November.
The Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic presented by Meadow View/Salem Crossing, the 102ndARCA Racing Series event to be held at Salem Speedway, is set for Saturday night, September 9.
Advance ticket, both reserved and general admission, are available on line at salemspeedway.com or by calling 812-883-6504 or 1-888-246-7223.