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Briggs Cunningham III
Briggs Cunningham III, center (Photo: Michele Thompson)

ARCA champion car owner Briggs Cunningham III passes away at 89

Briggs Cunningham III, the co-owner of the team that carried Chase Briscoe to the 2016 ARCA Menards Series national championship, passed away Wednesday. Cunningham was 89.

Cunningham’s involvement in ARCA carried on his family’s legacy in motorsports that dated back 1930, when his father Briggs S. Cunningham founded what is now known as the Sports Car Club of America.

The elder Cunningham is a two-time class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a three-time class winner in the 12 Hours of Sebring. He also captained a sailing team that won the famed America’s Cup.

Cunningham III’s own motorsports legacy was created when he partnered with co-owner Kerry Scherer to create a powerhouse team that earned 40 ARCA Menards Series victories with 14 different drivers, including current NASCAR Cup Series stars Briscoe and Alex Bowman, Xfinity Series champion Austin Cindric and fellow series winner Myatt Snider, NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman, and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne.

Cunningham never sought the spotlight. In a rare public appearance, he celebrated the 2016 ARCA championship with Briscoe, Scherer and crew chief Chad Bryant at the series’ awards banquet in 2016.

Bryant purchased the assets of the Cunningham Motorsports organization in 2018 and continued to operate the team through 2020 before joining forces with GMS Racing to oversee that team’s ARCA program.