Veteran Hessert fastest overall in Daytona testing

Veteran Hessert fastest overall in Daytona testing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2018) -- ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards veteran Tom Hessert was the fastest among 62 drivers who turned laps in open testing Friday and Saturday at Daytona Int'l Speedway, all in preparation for next month's 55th running of the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire.

Hessert, in a Venturini Motorsports-prepared No. 55 Toyota, posted a top speed of 185.258 mph.

“The car handled the same during the run, whether we were towards the front, in the middle, or out back," said the Cherry Hill, N.J. driver. "I’m really looking forward to next month.”

Mason Mitchell Motorsports rookies/teammates Quin Houff and Blaine Perkins paired-up for the second and third fastest runs. Houff, of Weyers Cave, Va., circled the 2.5-mile track with a speed of 185.189 mph.

“I love the superspeedways, and pack racing," said Houff. "Every time I get back into the car here I learn something. The car felt pretty good in the draft. We’re hungry for a win.”

Houff drove the No. 98 Chevrolet with Perkins in the 78 Chevy.

“I was just trying to follow the tire tracks of my teammate Quin Houff," said Perkins. "Quin has really helped me learn how to draft. It’s a whole different experience driving at this place," the Bakersfield, Calif. driver added.

Gus Dean, of Bluffton, S.C., gave Win-Tron Racing a good lap, coming in fourth fastest at 183.772 mph in the No. 32 Chevrolet.

“These cars break through the air bubble between cars easier than the old cars," said Dean. "You really have to watch your closing speeds on these cars.”

Veteran Dave Mader III, who last competed in ARCA competition in the mid-90s, returned with a vengeance. The Maylene, Ala. driver was fifth fastest (183.352 mph) in the No. 63 Jeff Spraker Racing Chevrolet.

“The last time I was here was in 1991 racing in the Twin 125s trying to qualify for the Daytona 500…we ended up wrecking," said Mader. “Jeff Spraker and I started putting this deal together a couple of months ago. I was at the back of the pack and we sucked up really well to put that lap up on the board." 

Fredericksburg, Va. driver Willie Mullins, in his own Mullins Racing Ford, was next on the chart at 182.382 mph. 

"We gathered a lot of data yesterday, then worked last night at the hotel on a plan for today," said Mullins. "The changes we made were minute, but made a big difference on the track. We were leading the pack when we put that number up. We’ve improved our superspeedway program over the past few years. With the composite body, we weren’t sure what to expect. We’re pretty happy with the results.”

A pair of No. 52 Ken Schrader Racing Fords were seventh and eighth fastest with teammates/newcomers Will Rodgers and Brandon Grosso driving. Rodgers, from Maui, Hawaii, turned his first laps at Daytona.

"This is the first time I’ve drafted on a superspeedway," said Rodgers. "I’ve drafted in a simulator, but not on the track for real. Trying to figure out where the yellow line on the bottom of the track is, is hard when you’re in the middle of the pack. You have to guess what the driver in front of you is going to do to arc into the turn, and you have to trust him. You have to predict where the driver in front of you is going to turn, and it's different from car to car. Overall, it’s pretty cool.” 

Grosso, of Belle Mead, N.J., also took his first laps at Daytona. Austin Theriault, the 2017 ARCA national champion, assisted. 

"Austin Theriault was spotting for me and gave me plenty of information in the draft," said Grosso. "The track is choppy in the draft, and it’s hard to see through the car in front of you. The corners come up on you faster in the draft. You have to anticipate what the car in front of you is going to do. It was fun.” 

Andy Seuss (02 Our Motorsports Chevrolet) and Ryan Repko (Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet) were ninth and 10th. 

“This was my first time in the draft," said Repko. "It was pretty awesome. I’ve never felt anything like that before in any race car. It was cool.”

Repko nearly wrecked Friday.

“Yesterday, I had a tire go down off of turn 4. Somehow I managed to save it, and not wreck. At that speed, it definitely got my attention.”

Eight-time Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart was 11th in his own Chevrolet.

“I still think we have a lot of work to do to make these cars stable in a big pack," said Gerhart. "The old cars had years of development. The new cars still have some work to do to get to that point.”

"The new cars" that Gerhart referred to are the flange-fit composite body cars. The Lucas Oil 200 will mark the first race in which all the cars in the field will be made up entirely of composite bodies.

Don Radebaugh
dradebaugh@arcaracing.com

ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Daytona Int'l Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Overall Combined Open Test Results (Jan. 12-13)
1 55 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ Toyota 48.581 185.258
2 98 Quin Houff/Weyers Cave VA Chevrolet 48.599 185.189
3 78 Blaine Perkins/Bakersfield CA Chevrolet 48.696 184.820
4 32 Gus Dean/Bluffton SC Chevrolet 48.987 183.722
5 63 Dave Mader III/Maylene AL Chevrolet 49.086 183.352
6 3W Willie Mullins/Fredericksburg VA Ford 49.347 182.382
7 52R Will Rodgers/Maui HI Ford 49.349 182.375
8 52G Brandon Grosso/Belle Mead NJ Ford 49.351 182.367
9 02A Andy Seuss/Salisbury NC Chevrolet 49.357 182.345
10 88 Ryan Repko/Denver NC Chevrolet 49.357 182.345
11 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Chevrolet 49.543 181.660
12 10S Daniel Sasnett/Auburndale FL Chevrolet 49.578 181.532
13 8 Chase Purdy/Meridian MS Toyota 49.678 181.167
14 41 Zane Smith/Huntington Beach CA Toyota 49.682 181.152
15 25 Natalie Decker/Eagle River WI Toyota 49.690 181.123
16 28 Sheldon Creed/Alpine CA Toyota 49.706 181.065
17 15 Michael Self/Park City UT Toyota 49.731 180.974
18 20 Leilani Munter/Rochester MN Toyota 49.745 180.923
19 69K Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN Ford 49.768 180.839
20 43 Sean Corr/Goshen NY Chevrolet 49.829 180.618
21 33 Michael McGuire/Vinton VA Toyota 49.858 180.513
22 23 Bret Holmes/Munford AL Chevrolet 49.877 180.444
23 57 Matt Frahm/North Salem NH Chevrolet 49.879 180.437
24 66L Carl Long/Roxboro NC Ford 49.909 180.328
25 46M Thad Moffitt/Trinity NC Ford 49.922 180.281
26 77 Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY Ford 49.937 180.227
27 7B Codie Rohrbaugh/Parkersburg WV Chevrolet 49.942 180.209
28 10M Tony Mrakovich/Elizabethtown NJ Chevrolet 49.987 180.047
29 30Q Grant Quinlan/Maidstone Ontario Ford 50.008 179.971
30 27 Travis Braden/Wheeling WV Ford 50.041 179.853
31 46F John Ferrier/Middletown NY Ford 50.139 179.501
32 39I Jesse Iwuji/Carrollton TX Chevrolet 50.215 179.229
33 02C CJ McLaughlin/Boston MA Chevrolet 50.301 178.923
34 77C Chad Finchum/Knoxville TN Ford 50.330 178.820
35 18B Riley Herbst/Las Vegas NV Toyota 50.342 178.777
36 77W Chuck Walker/Concord NC Ford 50.427 178.476
37 9P Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL Chevrolet 50.490 178.253
38 39P Robert Powers/Meridian ID Chevrolet 50.529 178.116
39 3L Alex Labbe/St. Albert Quebec Ford 50.641 177.722
40 02S Stewart McCormack/Plaistow NH Chevrolet 50.650 177.690
41 77T Tate Fogleman/Durham NC Ford 50.709 177.483
42 37 Kirk Horton/Eldred NY Chevrolet 50.907 176.793
43 02M Matt Anderson/Franklin NH Chevrolet 50.925 176.730
44 39F Jonas Fors/Ingaro Sweden Chevrolet 51.169 175.888
45 69H Kevin Hinckle/Shawnee KS Ford 51.190 175.816
46 10B Morgen Baird/Jackson MI Toyota 51.415 175.046
47 48 Brad Smith/Shelby Township MI Ford 51.426 175.009
48 28T Max Tullman/Chester Springs PA Toyota 51.505 174.740
49 3A Andrew Belmont/Penndel PA Ford 51.557 174.564
50 11H Chuck Hiers/Jacksonville FL Toyota 51.586 174.466
51 77J Joseph Graf/Mahwah NJ Ford 51.589 174.456
52 39D Jerry De Weerdt/Aartselaar Belgium Chevrolet 51.787 173.789
53 30D Tyler Dippel/Wallkill NY Ford 51.844 173.598
54 10L Robby Lyons/Seminole FL Chevrolet 51.874 173.497
55 10P Ed Pompa/Ballston Spa NY Toyota 51.878 173.484
56 3D Dick Karth/Grafton WI Ford 52.232 172.308
57 3R Robert Bruce/Fredericksburg VA Ford 52.883 170.187
58 10O Michael Ostdiek/Lakeville MN Toyota 53.439 168.416
59 10R Logan Runyon/Cambridge OH Toyota 53.543 168.089
60 04 Scott Reeves/Royal Palm Beach FL Chevrolet 54.180 166.113
61 9O Ronnie Osmer/Pearl River LA Ford 54.717 164.483
62 3F Leslie Ferris/Northfield MN Ford 56.063 160.534

Comments
RUSTY R.

Good seeing former Snowball Derby champion,Mader running fast at Daytona!

RobbyG83

Again! Glad to see cars on the track. Next month can't come any quicker!!! LOL!!!