Hessert fastest in two-day test at Talladega; Justin Allison revives 'The Alabama Gang'

Hessert fastest in two-day test at Talladega; Justin Allison revives 'The Alabama Gang'

(TALLADEGA, Ala. - April 17, 2014) – A two-day test in preparation for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 at Talladega Superspeedway wrapped up Thursday at the iconic 2.66-mile track in preparation for the Saturday, May 3 event during the Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Tom Hessert, in a Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, led the charts both days with a top speed of 184.551 mph, which he set in the Wednesday afternoon session. 

Justin Allison, grandson of original Alabama Gang member Donnie Allison, also participated in the two-day test, posting his best speed Wednesday afternoon at 182.442 mph. Donnie won at Talladega twice while his brother Bobby, also an original member of the Alabama Gang, captured four checkered flags at Talladega. Davey Allison, Bobby’s son and Justin’s second cousin, won four ARCA races at Talladega, along with three Sprint Cup Series events. 

“It has always been a dream of mine to race at Talladega,” said Justin who will be making his Talladega debut in the Team BCR Ford, which carries the No. 88 his grandfather sported in the 1970s. “It’s my family hometown track and a very special place for all of my family. Being on the track for the first time yesterday I saw first-hand that it is a special place. I had a lot of fun the past couple days. We have a good car and we’re capable of winning the race. A victory here would mean a lot to not only me, but to my entire family. 

“My goal is to win it,” added the 21-year-old Allison, who was running in the top-10 during the season opener at Daytona before being collected in a wreck that broke out in front of him. “We have to run the whole race to accomplish that, and I know I’ve got a lot to learn out there. I’m really looking forward to the experience, but if we’re there at the end, our goal should be nothing short of winning it. That’s why we do this.” 

Does Granddad think he can succeed? 

"He's got a knack,” said Donnie, who won at Talladega in 1971 and 1977. "He's (Justin) never driven around Talladega in his life. He went out and ran (Wednesday). He came in and I asked him a question about it. He told me exactly what he felt. I know he felt it, because I saw him do it. That's a gift. That's not taught." 

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 kicks off an eventful Saturday at Talladega, starting at 10 am CT. At 12:10 pm, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will challenge Talladega in the all new “Knockout” Coors Light Pole qualifying. It’s the most anticipated qualifying of the year, with cars running in groups having to make it through three elimination rounds to grab the pole. At 2 pm, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will compete in the Aaron’s 312 race. That evening, country star Randy Houser will hit the stage near Talladega Blvd. in the track’s infield to keep the party going well into the night. 

Ticket options? The track has many for fans of all ages, as well as hundreds of acres of FREE Camping. To find out more, call the Talladega ticket office at 1-877-Go-2-DEGA. 

NASCAR returns to Talladega Superspeedway in 2014 with the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, which is set for May 2-4. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA Racing Series will take to the track on Saturday, May 3 while NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series machines take the green flag on Sunday, May 4. For ticket information, log onto www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.


Price Mason
Public Relations Coordinator

ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Talladega Superspeedway
Open Test Results (4-16/17-14)
1 77 Tom Hessert Dodge 51.888 184.551
2 25 Justin Boston Toyota 52.119 183.733
3 15 John Wes Townley Toyota 52.200 183.448
4 55 Leilani Munter Toyota 52.223 183.367
5 4 Mark Thompson Chevy 52.304 183.084
6 68 Michael Lira Ford 52.428 182.650
7 22 Austin W Self Dodge 52.487 182.445
8 88 Justin Allison Ford 52.488 182.442
9 98 Mason Mitchell Ford 52.566 182.171
10 32 Terry Jones Toyota 52.801 181.360
11 3 Karl Weber Chevy 52.820 181.295
12 3 Kevin Powell Chevy 52.867 181.134
13 44 Frank Kimmel Toyota 53.037 180.553
14 2 Thomas Praytor Chevy 53.148 180.176
15 57 Bryan Dauzat Chevy 53.439 179.195
16 86 Bobby Grewohl Chevy 53.711 178.288
17 57 Andy Seuss Chevy 54.128 176.914
18 69 Raul Orlandini Ford 54.150 176.842
19 44 Frank Kimmel II Toyota 54.581 175.446
20 06 Joey Gattina Chevy 56.512 169.451