CLERMONT, Indiana – July 26, 2015 – Tom Hessert finished third after a hard-fought race Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway. Teammates Kyle Weatherman and Chase Briscoe also had top-10 finishes… Weatherman 7th and Briscoe 10th, in his ARCA Series debut.
Hessert, who fought his No. 77 Ford throughout the two practice sessions, managed to qualify seventh. After taking the green, Hessert moved up to fifth on lap 6. He had worked his way into fourth before pitting under caution for right side tires and fuel on lap 63. A quick stop by Hessert’s pit crew had him restarting in third. He settled in the top-5 until the last 40 laps, when his car began to come to him. Hessert was turning lap times faster than the leader frequently in the final laps, but he had lost too much track position earlier to contend for the win… ultimately taking home the third spot.
When a satisfied Hessert was asked after the race if he needed a caution toward the end of the race, he replied, “No, we were the best at the end. Our Barbera’s Autoland Ford worked best on long runs. I can’t thank my Cunningham team enough for all of their hard work. We will be ready for Pocono next week.” The third place finish inched Hessert closer to the championship lead…where he finds himself 70 points behind current leader, Grant Enfinger.
Seventeen year old Kyle Weatherman dominated the first half of the day…posting the top speed in both practice sessions and earning his third Menards Pole of his career. Weatherman set sail for the checkered flag after taking the green flag from the pole position. He led the first fifty laps before the handling went away on the No. 22 Ford. He fell back as far as third before bringing his car to the pits for right side Hoosiers and Sunoco fuel. The pit stop didn’t have the desired result as Weatherman fought and struggled to find a line that would work for him. As the checkered flag flew, Weatherman finished seventh, his first non-top-5 finish of the 2015 season.
The finish was enough to keep Weatherman in the lead in the season-long Calypso Short Track Challenge points battle. As he heads into his debut at the Pocono Raceway next week, he can look forward to driving the same Cunningham car that Trevor Bayne took to victory lane in his first ARCA Pocono race in June.
The third Cunningham car, the No. 72, was driven by 20 year old Chase Briscoe, who was making his ARCA Racing Series debut. Briscoe is the fourth Cunningham driver to make his Series debut this season. After having the fifth quickest speed in the first practice session, Briscoe was eighth in the final practice and qualified fifth. He ran in the top-8 spots throughout the first half of the race. His lone pit stop was under caution on lap 63 when he took right side tires and fuel.
During the second half of the race, Briscoe lost the brakes on his Dodge, ultimately finishing tenth. Briscoe was thankful for the opportunity to make his Series debut. After the race he said, “The opportunity I have been given has been great. I can’t thank Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer enough for the chance to make my ARCA debut in their car.”
Next up for the Cunningham teams is the ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, August 1. Practice on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” is scheduled for Friday from 12:30-1:55 EST, with qualifying at 6:00. With a 3:00 start the 50 lap event will be covered live on Fox Sports 2. The Cunningham organization will field two cars at Pocono… the No. 77 for Tom Hessert and the No. 22 for Kyle Weatherman.