“Editor’s note: Frank Kimmel was formally inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame on Sunday, Jan. 22. This story was published when he was selected for induction on July 6, 2022.”
Frank Kimmel has been retired as a driver in the ARCA Menards Series since the end of the 2016 season, but he continues to add accolades to his incredible resume.
The latest was revealed Friday, when the 10-time ARCA Menards Series champion was announced as one of the newest members of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.
Amusingly, when the phone call came to alert Kimmel of the honor, he ignored it since he wasn’t familiar with number.
“I saw the call come in, and I didn’t know the number, so immediately I just ignored it, which was probably not the smartest thing to do,” said Kimmel, who continues to work in the ARCA Menards Series as a mechanic for David Gilliland Racing and driver Taylor Gray. “I got a call from ARCA, and they said there is a phone number with an area code … you might want to take that one.
“I’m really excited. Didn’t really expect anything like that. You’re just working every day and you don’t really think about things like that. When Kelly (Crandall, NMPA president) called me, I kind of had to sit down and think about it a minute. After we got off the phone and discussed what was going to happen and that kind of thing, it gave me a little bit of time to reflect on it, what a really cool deal.”
The National Motorsports Press Association consists of qualified members of the media who report on the sport of auto racing through affiliations with print, radio, television and/or internet news gathering organizations.
Each year the NMPA membership votes on the next group of inductees into the NMPA Hall of Fame, which is located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway.
Kimmel was among four who were selected by the NMPA membership for the Class of 2023. He is joined by legendary motorsports announcer Dr. Dick Berggren, NHRA drag racing champion Shirley Muldowney and sports car star Scott Pruett.
“It’s very humbling. These are all people who are heroes of mine,” Kimmel said. “When you see somebody that is the best in their sport or the best at whatever they do, it’s always cool to meet those kind of people. Shirley Muldowney is a freaking legend. Dick Berggren is probably one of the greatest NASCAR racing supporters we’ve ever had. Of course Scott Pruett just did a lot of amazing things in the sports car world.
“I’m very privileged to get up on stage with them. That’s a pretty cool deal.”
The native of Jeffersonville, Indiana, is the only 10-time champion in ARCA Menards Series history, and he won eight consecutive titles from 2000-07. Kimmel secured 80 victories and 44 poles during his time in ARCA, with his last triumph coming at Kansas Speedway during his final championship season in 2013.
He is just the second ARCA Menards Series champion to be selected for enshrinement in the NMPA Hall of Fame, joining two-time ARCA Menards Series champion and 1973 NASCAR Cup Series champion Benny Parsons.
“To be recognized for what you’ve done in your career, it means a lot,” Kimmel said. “I’m 60 years old now so once you get to this age, that’s all you really have left is memories a lot of times. It’s nice to know that you made a little bit of a mark on a sport you’ve loved all your life.”
Kimmel, along with Berggren, Muldowney and Pruett, will be honored during the NMPA Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the annual NMPA convention in late January 2023.