Readers of the magazine will notice two differences about Project Bomber with Busch behind
The race was, by all accounts, a dominating performance by Will Kimmel, Frank Kimmel's nephew. Kimmel led 148 of 150 laps en route to his first victory at the track. The only other guy to lead any laps was, you guessed it, Kurt Busch. Ironically, Busch's best finish at Rockingham in any car was a Second and that's where he ended up in the Polar Bear 150.
While the stats say the race was a runaway, it was anything but. At one point, Busch didn't hesitate going four wide to briefly grab the lead, a move that caught Kimmel's attention. "It was a little intimidating to look back and see the No. 22 (Busch) in the mirror," said Kimmel.
"Will and I raced each other very hard; that was what I came for," explained Busch. "The most fun a guy like me can have is to run neck and neck with another driver and put on a show for the fans. It's no fun for anybody to watch one car check out and run away with the race. We ran 110 laps side by side, nose to tail, both cars sliding around on hard tires before we ever touched.
Fifty Street Stocks took the green flag and with that many cars on Rock's 1-mile oval, the
"I was pretty confident in my car but at the same time it was pretty hard to keep it on the bottom where it ran the best," said Kimmel, who started on the pole. "My guys built a great car today. This thing just ran awesome all day. It's been a while since we've been in Victory Lane, so this is really cool."
All Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals races are divided into two segments with a short break in between. "When we designed the series, we wanted the races to be long enough to put on a good show for the fans," explains Kimmel. "But longer races generally mean pit stops and that would drive the cost up too much. So we divided the race in half with a short break. It was a big cost savings to avoid pit stops."
In the second segment of the Polar Bear 150, Busch had his work cut out for him. Contact with Kimmel forced the Las Vegas, Nevada, native to make a pit stop to pull the fender off the left front tire. "I got alongside him going down the backstretch and a lap car tried to get out of the way, instead he went the opposite direction," said Busch. "Will wasn't at fault. If anything it made the race that much more interesting. I passed a lot of cars as the laps wound down. We had to come in to repair the damage; it was rubbing the left front tire. I wanted to come from the back to worry him to death but we ran out of laps and power.
Will Kimmel, Frank's nephew, leads Chuck Barnes, winner of the last two Polar Bear 150 eve
"It was a blast," said Busch, despite the contact with Kimmel. "It was just as much fun as I thought it would be. It was old-school racing-toss it in sideways and drive the hell out of it. We got every ounce out it."
In total, the race was slowed by nine cautions for 42 laps while 10 of the 50 cars that started finished on the lead lap.
Frank Kimmel was pleased with the results. "I'm really, really impressed with the race, yes we had a few big accidents, but that's kinda part of the deal. All the safety equipment did its job and nobody got hurt. There was great racing throughout the field and the race wasn't a runaway, Kurt was battling with Will the whole way."