This page is designed as a way to remember Billy, and to show those not fortunate enough to have met Billy to see what kind of a person he was. Any story you would like to share can be sent to me at ColdrenRacing@aol.com. Please include your name if you want it put up with the story.
I met Bill about 8 or 9 years ago when he dated my cousin. I remember that day so well he came up to moms house to see my cousin cause she was up for the weekend and we all sat around telling weird ghost stories and laughing about anything and everything. Then about a year later I was at my aunts house and he came down and asked me and my brothers if we would like to go the Farm Show with him and my cousin and we all said yeah cause I believe at that time we had never been to there. That was that last time that I seen him and then the other day I got a phone call phone my cousin and she told me that he had died and I was in total shock. I didn't know that he raced down at Williams Grove and now that I look at his website I see that he was good at it and that it was one of the things he loved. I didn't know him that well but I can say from what I knew of his he was a great guy and he was a good listener. The day I met him I started crying cause we were talking about my dad and he hugged me and told me that everything would be alright and that from what my cousin had told him I had a great stepdad that would be there for me just like a real dad and he was right about that. He will be sadly missed by my whole family. RIP Billy Bob. Love ya.
To all of our disbelief, Billy passed away Sunday night September 2, 2007 due to
injuries sustained from a sprint car crash at Williams Grove. Please keep
Billy & his family in your prayers. During this time of need is when family
A person like Billy Kimmel is not one that can be replaced or forgotten, he was
a person who would stop what he was doing, jump in the truck and come down to
help someone else with there race car or whatever. He was a rare breed, a
person who's word you could trust, a person with 'flare and charisma', a person
that you cannot replace, not now, not in time, not ever.
About Billy Kimmel: I first met Billy from when he ran 305 sprint cars, he
started coming to the store to help do things, our friendship grew and I began
see how much he loved to race. The 305 motor Billy had built himself and ran up
front in that division, he moved to a 360 class using a motor that he had also
built, but after running it only a few times - he knew that the 410 sprint car
is what he wanted to do. After going racing with Billy over the years he had
become a best friend to me, almost like a brother, he taught me things about
engines, set up, and even personalities. Billy took just a few weeks off to get
the 410 ready, building with FIT (George), Billy was ready to run with the big
dogs. He ran Susky, Lincoln, and the Grove and he went out and just drove that
car for all he had everytime out. His first heat race win in the 410 came at
Susky, I was not there but Brian was wrenching on the car that night, Fred
Rhamer was in that heat and some other notables - - when Billy came in after
winning his heat in a big fashion - Brian said it was like a feature win to
Billy. Billy went on to race at the National open at the Grove and other big
events. Billy would show up on an open trailer with the truck full of spares,
and a tool box. He made a small budget race with people that do not have a
budget - Billy wanted to race bad enough to make it work.
Two "Billy stories"
Susky had a practice night on a Sunday, and Billy wanted to go. Well I wanted
to go and run also, but I had parted ways with our driver a week or so back and
the motors went also. Billy said come on down, bring your helmet and stuff and
drive my car. So, I did just that, we took my trailer, his car, his mom came
with food (as usual), and we both drove the 410 car that night. I smile about
that story now, because I think - how many people would do that for a friend?
That is the kind of person Billy Kimmel was.
A guy needed a used sprint car frame for Friday night, Billy had one, so he said
"how much" - Billy said "awe give me $50 bucks for it". If you know Billy, he
always had a sprint car frame around - heck usually had 5 or 6 used frames
there. Anyway, the body was not the buyers 'normal' color, so Billy sanded it
down and painted the body for the buyer at no charge, so when he came to pick it
up... it was all ready to bolt together. Just another fine example of what type
of person Billy was.
Last words, I was at the track when Billy passed away, I had no words, only
tears - still no words.
But I am damn glad I went that night. I got to see & talk to Billy just an hour
before he passed. He came to the parts trailer to talk and get some bolts, I
asked him how it was going and he said it "felt good", we talked for a few
minutes, then he turned, I said "Good Luck", he said "Thanks" - and in a flash
he was gone. I am glad I knew Billy Kimmel, glad he was a best friend of mine,
glad we went racing together, glad my sons & wife knew him, and glad to know
that Billy Kimmel will never be forgotten.
I can remember the first day I met Billy we were in the 6th grade and all we talked about was how he loved sprint car racing and he told me all about this guy Mark Coldren that he helped work on a micro sprint with, He went on to tell me that Mark promissed him that if his grades were good and when turned 16 that Mark would let him take the micro out form hot laps. Well that day happend and from that day on Billy always had a dream of some how some way he was going to have his own sprint car. Well a few years after we were out of high school Billy had given me a call like usual and he was so excited on the phone he could barely get out that he finally bought his first sprint car frame and he wanted to know what I was doing and if I could come out to the barn and show him how to use a spray gun to paint the frame. Well from there it was Billy's dream coming true and he followed that dream with alot of passion. Their are alot of memories I have of Billy for me to keep his memory alive. Billy and I became best friends from then on. God speed Billy I'll miss you very much
Hi my name is Nathan Gramm....i was a friend of Billy Kimmel. i helped work on the race car, i first met Bill at my work one day when he came in to see my service manager ( he then worked on the car) he was a pretty straight shooter, straight forward kinda guy, always laughing and cracking jokes. at the race track he was that low buck ,low budget friendly racecar driver that had that "run what ya brung attitude", that brought his car on an open trailer EVERY week to williamsgrove when he could scrounge up enough money for fuel. He never had alot of money, but always wanted the car to look good for the fans. he worked at roadway in carlisle as a trailer mechanic, and partime at Pancho's race products in New Oxford. in the middle of last year we put the name of my chili on the top wings of his 410 sprint car, "Trailer Trash Chili"...my duties as a sponser was to provide chili for the whole team...( was kinda a small joke and something just to draw attention and make people look twice and ask questions)...well this year i decided chili just wasn't enough...i used my money to design and have t-shirts printed with his name and sprint car on the front and an open trailer on the back, Jim at Brooks Graphix in New Kingston helped me with this...after 3 months of e-mails and design work...the shirts were done. i had Bill pick them up after i cut 1200 dollar check out. He showed up at my work with a box full of shirts and said " nobody has ever done something like this for me"..."it was the least i could do for the sprint car" there were tears in his eyes. we sold all 72 shirts in no time. when i gather the profit from the shirts i went to bill in the pits and asked him what size tires he ran..."why?" he asked... "because i sold some shirts , i wanna get you new tires" to the tire truck we went. he picked out two rear tires , and with tears in his eyes he said "thank you", he ran to the pits to get them put on and took his provisional and took the pole position for the feature...he got his best finish at the grove that night of 11th place, which made him the happiest man alive...he NEVER had a set of new tires before..... it was a major hit on Beer Hill ( which is a group of fans dedicated to the sport)...his fan interest grew...people would say "who's the guy with the open trailer?" "i like that" they would say "that's a true racer". not much money not much equipment , but alot of heart. all he wanted to do was race, weather it ment pulling junk tires out of junk piles and running used tires or putting together bent wheels and running them. even when he ran a bent wheel, it was polished to perfection. anytime you would look out there on the track you would see thousands of dollars in those cars out there weather it be in the paint job, motor or decals...bill was back at the shop spray painting the tailtank or putting brake lines on with zip ties. Bill really tried to take me under his wing this year and teach me how to work on the sprint car and teach me tricks of the trade, just like he learned how to do it. his goofy smile will be missed.
when i did chili cookoffs this year all over central PA, Bill helped, just like i was there to help him with the sprint car, he knew how much the cookoffs ment to me jus like i knew how much the sprint car ment to him, i labled him the meat coordinator...he cooked all the meat, he would dance around and yell TATONKA ( which is indian for buffalo) which i just started adding to my recipe. just one memorie of Bill. another time when he wanted to take the sprint car to a cookoff and have it on display in york, he would help little kids in and out of it , talking to the people and explaining what he did and where he raced. little kids looked up to him for that. a kid i'd like to mention is Coulton Kramer, he looked up to bill and i know he's hurtin right now, he thought alot of you coulton, don't forget that.
these are just some of the things that i can say about bill.
While I cannot say that Billy and I hung out much away from racing I do consider him a friend. I first met Billy several years ago when he worked on the I07. Even then he possessed an intense, never-say-die attitude toward this wonderful sport and his involvement in it.
This passion eventually got him to where he wanted to be. Those that have never strapped into one of these cars can never know what is like or the addiction that the experience creates. Billy exemplified this passion. It was never about the size of the trailer or the number of spares. It was simply about accepting the challenge of racing against the best drivers in the country and living a dream.
This intensity was accompanied by a willingness to help others as well as a wonderful sense of humor. It was obvious that he coveted relationships with those around him. Perhaps the quote that best sums up the person that is Billy Kimmel was something he told me prior to the start of racing on Sunday. We were pitted next to him and I jokingly asked him about having competing chili sponsors on his car. His reply was “It’s not a big deal. I’m friends with both of them and they both make good chili.”
Thanks Billy. You’re an inspiration.
I’ve known Billy Kimmel for a while. When I started 358 racing, Billy was helping Mark Coldren on his 410. His shop was just down Mountain Road from where I kept my car. Mountain Road in Dillsburg was kind of like Gasoline Alley: Rich Eichelberger, Tim Hershey, Stan Fleming, Steve Poplaski and I all had shops down there. On race nights, it was like a parade of rigs heading to the track. Before Billy had a race car, we’d be down there working on our car and Billy would blast by in his Mustang, grabbing gears and making noise. Mike Myers and I would be in the shop and hear a 302 go by and, without looking up, we’d say: “Billy.”
You know, real racers are pretty hard-core. Sprint racing kind of gets in you, consumes you and you can barely think of anything else. You’ll do anything to make it happen, beg, borrow, whatever. You become quick to lend a hand and learn not to be afraid to ask for help. You research, study, learn math and accounting, commit gear charts and tire circumferences to memory, you volunteer, help out others and hope for it in return. On nights you can’t race for whatever reason, you go to the track without really knowing why.
Billy Kimmel was one of these real racers, making it happen. While I am so sad that he is gone, I am proud of him for finding a way to do what he loved and happy to have known him.
just a couple weeks ago I was @ the grove for the first time in a
long time and I took notice that there was a van with a open trailer in the
pits and I asked my friend if he knew who was driving the white # 47 and he
told me it was Billy Kimmel .I replied back to him that it probably wont
get out of it's own way .Man was I wrong when he was out in warmups he was
driving it for everything it was worth. I quickly became a fan of his as
and he taught me a quick lesson in life and that is you do not have to have
a big budjet as long as you put your heart is into it and you have the
passion for it you can make your dreams come true.Thank You Billy Kimmel
for teaching me a life long lesson that one friday night I decided to come
back to williams grove to see a sprint car race
Billy was that type of guy that you were lucky to have as a friend. just last week it was about 830 at night and i needed a combo arm for a front end i was building for the race at the grove Sunday. Bill was the first guy i called for that part.
He was always willing to help me. Before the 07 season started i was looking for a frame to put together with an experimental front clip. Again bull offered me an old maxim that he had for 50 bucks. i bought that car from bill. once the front clip was on the car he made me bring it back to his shop so he could paint the frame and body for it RED! he hated red. he said "Westbrook white is cheaper and and come on it looks much better white!" haha but bill would always paint my stuff red causethat's what i liked.
That off season Bill painted bother of my cars my wings and anything i needed for free. never wanted a dime. not even a pizza from his favorite shop ALS.
Turns out that very car that i bought from Bill in the off season was that car that i drove all year. It was that car that i won in on Sunday night after bill had his wreck. I didn't want to race that race at all. But i knew that if Bill were around he would kick my A$$ cause i was starting 4th. Now i know that during that race there were times i thought of him and wondering how he was doing. Turns out i won that race. now i know that bill was riding with me during that race. and I'm so proud that i was able to call him my friends..............I'm so much for all the Memories bill and thank you for riding with me on Sunday night and making me look so good! you were a true friend to me. i wish i could have done more for you.
thanks again bill your a true friend that many should look up to
Hi I am Heather (Kitner) Beck I am Julie's oldest sister. Billy has been apart of our family for many years since the shop was next door. Billy is the kind of person that would do anything for you. Julie and Billy would come over almost every Sunday to cook on the grill or just to hang out with us and play with Maddie our daughter. Billy offered to help Scott with his truck to get it to run better. When Billy got his motorcycle Julie and he came right over to show us the new bike. One day when we were over at my parents house swimming and stuff Billy was mowing his yard with a push mower and ran over the hose and water were shooting out all over it was a funny moment when it happened. Billy was that kind of funny person making jokes over things like that. Our family will miss he very much. Billy had the two great loves racing and Julie.
I can't claim to be a big race fan, so I knew Bill outside racing. However in knowing Bill, you heard about racing... A LOT. He lived for it. Years ago I remember he talked all the time about wanting to race sprint cars. Bill's first experience driving a sprint car was either a racing school of some sort or maybe someone just let him take their car out for some hot laps, I don't recall exactly. What I do recall is Bill's enthusiasm as he recounted every detail of those few laps, how the car handled, the power it had. He was so excited he just seemed like a big kid, it was refreshing.
My favorite Bill story is probably his 21st birthday celebration. I realized he was the first person I celebrated a 21st birthday with, probably because I was only 19. Bill had the party at the Bowling Alley, I think so his under 21 friends could join in. That was like Bill though, always making people feel welcome, and constantly inviting people to the races. Anyways, Bill celebrated a bit too hard, as folks tend to do on their 21st birthdays, and was spending some time hugging the porcelain. I went in to see if he was OK, and gave him a few mints to aleviate any bad taste in his mouth. Everytime I saw Bill after that he say "Here's the guy who gave me Lifesavers while I was in the bathroom puking on my birthday!" I'd usually reply something along the lines of "but you ate them, they helped, right?", to which he'd smile and say "yeah, thanks." Yes, that was a fun night, nights with Bill usually were. He will be missed.