MARNE, Mich. – August 9, 2015 – Both Cunningham Motorsports teams need to get the monkey off of their backs when the ARCA Racing Series teams pull into the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt track in two weeks.
Two races in a row with less than acceptable results are pushing the teams to work harder. The finishes haven’t been due to lack of effort or preparation as the race cars have been fast… circumstances have bitten the teams. Last week at Pocono Raceway, both cars were taken out of contention when rookie Kyle Weatherman lost control of his Ford in the tunnel turn. Hessert was able to continue to circulate (after 24 laps in the garage), after the crew worked feverishly on the No. 77. His efforts resulted in a 25th place finish. Weatherman wasn’t able to complete a lap at the “Tricky Triangle” because of the severity of the damage to his No. 22.
This weekend at Berlin Speedway in Marne, Michigan appeared to be going better, with both cars posting top-5 practice speeds in both of the practice sessions. Weatherman put his Crossley Brands/Cunningham Motorsports No. 22 Ford on the outside pole. He missed out on his fourth pole of the season by just .004 seconds. Hessert, in the Barbera’s Autoland No. 77 lined up fourth for the green flag.
After starting on the outside pole, Weatherman fell back slightly before coming into the pits, under caution, on lap 55 for right side tires and fuel. With quick work from his pit crew, Weatherman restarted second. The Ford didn’t like the changes made, as the No. 22 got tighter and tighter with each lap. By the final pit stop, on lap 146, Weatherman had fallen to tenth. With four fresh Hoosiers on the final stop, he was able to climb to seventh as the checkered flag flew. Kyle grabbed his fifth SCOTT Rookie of the Race award….in 10 starts this season. He remains in the lead in the Calypso Short Track Challenge.
Hessert fell back steadily after the green flag, from his starting spot of fourth. On his first pit stop on lap 55, Hessert was 7th. With right side tires and fuel, he restarted ninth, where he began his climb toward the front. He picked off one position after another, methodically working his way around lapped cars. By his final scheduled pit stop, Hessert was in second with only championship leader, Grant Enfinger ahead of him.
After a four tire stop, under caution on lap 146, Hessert rejoined the pack in third. He immediately retook second as soon as the green flag flew. Hessert continued to try to track down race leader, Enfinger until he caught the rear corner of the lapped car of Richard Hauck, who was multiple laps down. As a move of apparent retaliation, Hauck sent Hessert hard into the turn 2 wall, with just eleven laps remaining. For the second time in two races, Hessert’s crew found themselves working to get the No. 77 back on track. He returned to finish 14th.
The next race where the Cunningham organization hopes to return to form is the 1-mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday, August 23. The one day SuperChevyStores.com-Allen Crowe 100 has practice scheduled from 9:00-10:00 CST, with qualifying at 11:15. The 100 lap race, which is televised live on CBS Sports Network begins at 1:30.