Editor’s Note: Tom Hessert may have his best chance to win the ARCA Racing Series championship this year. Hessert was featured in the March issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from that story.
Tom Hessert, who first began making headlines when he competed in the USAC National Midget Series during the early 2000s, has driven for a who’s who of ARCA team owners during his career. He made his first ARCA start in a car owned by Andy Belmont in 2007 and has since wheeled cars fielded by Robby Benton, Eddie Sharp, Ken Schrader and Cunningham Motorsports.
“They’re all different and they all have their nuances that makes them successful,” said Hessert, who has five ARCA wins on his racing résumé.
Between 2013 and 2015 Hessert drove for Cunningham Motorsports, winning three times. Hessert also drove for Cunningham in 2010 when he entered the season-finale at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway with a chance to win the ARCA championship, only to end up 105 points behind eventual champion Patrick Sheltra.
“Every year everyone has a story of stuff that could have gone this way or that way or how you think things going differently could have won you a championship,” Hessert said. “Is there one little area that I can point out where if I do that better I’ll win a championship? I don’t think so because there really isn’t just one thing that leads to winning the championship. It’s a bunch of little things.”
This year brings a new adventure for Hessert. During the offseason he departed Cunningham Motorsports to join another powerhouse ARCA organization — Venturini Motorsports. He debuted with the team during the season-opening Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Feb. 13, starting fourth and finishing 28th after a cut tire ended his chances of victory.
“Billy (Venturini, team general manager) and I have always talked about getting together over the years and the way things unfolded this off season it worked out to where we were able to get together for the first time,” said Hessert. “I’m very excited to be at Venturini Motorsports for this year. It’s a big change for me. I’ve known Billy and his family for a long time and competed against them. It’ll be exciting to be on their side of the garage. They have great equipment and always perform very well. It is a wonderful opportunity to win a championship.”