TOLEDO, Ohio (Jan. 9, 2018) -- Three-time Cometic Crew Chief of the Year Chad Bryant announced today that he has purchased the assets of Cunningham Motorsports, formerly a co-ownership between Briggs Cunningham and Kerry Scherer. Bryant has been a key component in Cunningham's success for years, crew-chiefing driver Chase Briscoe to the ARCA national championship in 2016.
"Same team, new name," said Bryant. "We're open for business as Chad Bryant Racing (CBR)…still the 77 and the 22."
The numbers won't be the only things familiar to competitors in the ARCA garage.
"I'm excited and blessed to keep this group of guys together. It's the same nucleus all-star group from Cunningham that held this thing together for years…making Cunningham the highly successful organization it is today."
That "same nucleus all-star group" includes longtime Cunningham Team Manager and Crew Chief Paul Andrews, whose race shop still contains all the former Cunningham cars and equipment.
"I've never missed a day's work since this deal went down," Bryant continued. "We're working out of the same shop with basically the same guys. I'll be working side by side with Paul (Andrews) like we always have…I just have to pay more attention to the ownership side. Bob Melvin, the car chief on the 77 for the last five years, will continue to be the car chief on the 77.
"As soon as the sale took place, we went ahead with plans to run Daytona, starting with the open test. We felt like with the team's past success, we'd have somebody step forward that wanted to race our equipment."
It didn't take long. With their phone ringing off the hook, Bo LeMastus was the first to commit to Chad Bryant Racing for the 55th running of the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona Feb. 10. It starts with the open test this weekend, Jan. 12-13. LeMastus, of Louisville, Ky., will be driving the No. 77 Crosley Brands Ford.
"I don't think there are betters guys in the ARCA garage to be working with than Chad Bryant and Paul Andrews," said LeMastus. "Totally top shelf. I could not have found a better opportunity. I'm so pumped to be in that car (77). For me, it was a simple decision. I like the way they run things…I think it's going to be a great fit.
"It was just a good opportunity met with good timing. I'm tickled to death to be in that Crosley Brands 77 car and running under Chad's banner."
Chad Bryant Racing will be bringing two cars to the Daytona test, a 77a and a 77b.
"Bo LeMastus is the biggest part of us going to Daytona," Bryant said. "Without his commitment, it wouldn't have been possible. Paul will be crew chiefing the car."
CBR also plans to debut two new drivers at the open test, provided they pass the ARCA-mandated requirements to participate.
"Joe Graf, Jr. and Chad Finchum are also going to be testing with us. Finchum is there to get approval to run the Xfinity race at Daytona but we expect Joe (Graf) to run a number of races with us throughout the year."
Cunningham Motorsports has been a full-time fixture on ARCA's national tour since 1996. The Cunningham-Scherer partnership produced 40 career ARCA Racing Series wins with 15 different drivers, as well as the national championship in 2016. The team became well known for grooming up and coming drivers over the years, including ARCA SCOTT Rookies of the Year Parker Kligerman, Dakoda Armstrong, Alex Bowman and Kyle Weatherman.
The transition to Chad Bryant Racing was an easy one for Cunningham.
"I’m very pleased and happy to have Chad (Bryant) take over the reins and keep the team's success moving forward," said Cunningham. "Chad is professional, has a great work ethic and extremely knowledgeable. And he does so well with the kids coming up and I’m very pleased that he's purchased the team. He's the right guy to carry the team into the future."