Andy Belmont Racing Satisfied With Daytona Test
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (December 20, 2007) - - Mooresville, North Carolina based Andy Belmont Racing (ABR) left Daytona International Speedway Saturday afternoon pleased with it's results after the team's new driver Tom Hessert shot his No. 1 Maaco Collision Repair & Auto Painting Ford Fusion into the top-20 during Saturday's morning run.
Hessert, who recently announced a full championship effort in 2008 was able toadapt to theDaytona International Speedway for the first time in his racing career last Friday and Saturday.
Piloting the same Ford Fusion that the team's 2007 development driver roared to a superb third place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, the team felt they picked up where they left off with the car reacting to the changes and picking up speed between the two days of testing.
"I'm very happy with the outcome of the test, but cautiously optimistic" said crew chief and co-car owner Andy Belmont. "Tom did a fabulous job for us at Daytona. He was anxious to get on track but he did everything that he needed to do and then some and that's great for us. We opted out of drafting Saturday and Sunday because we know what this car will do in the draft. We had a test motor in our Ford last weekend, so when we come back in February, we're going to be a lot better!"
For Hessert, the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, he was equally thrilled with the outcome of the two-day test session. "I'm happy," said the 21-year old New Jersey native. "We came to the test with a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish and in my eyes we completed everything on that list. I've never been on Daytona before Friday, so it was great to get some track time and really see what kind of piece we have for the race in February. Andy and the team worked their butts off on Friday and Saturday, I want to say thank you. They are a great bunch and there is no doubt in my mind that we'll come back stronger in two months."
In addition to Hessert, ABR also tested newcomer Jacob Francis who will pilot the team's second entry for a minimum of six ARCA RE/MAX Series events beginning with the ARCA 200 at Daytona in February. Francis also experienced his first taste of the thundering 2.5-mile DIS posting times on Friday and Saturday. Daytona marked the second time that the Ohio native would test a superspeedway. Last October, Francis stormed to the front of the speed charts in the ARCA RE/MAX Series open-test at Talladega Superspeedway in an entry fielded by Andy Belmont Racing.
Belmont is looking for big things from both of Hessert and Francis.
"Jacob is going to be just fine," added Belmont. "He did a very good job learning the line at Daytona International Speedway, I have no doubt in my mind that he'll qualify strong for the race. We're bringing Jacob a good piece to the race and he'll have a Roush-Yates motor under the hood, so all the components will be come together for him to strut his stuff. ABR is looking forward to having two of ARCA's newcomers a threat in the first race of the 2008 season."
"It's important to test," said Francis, who made his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at the Milwaukee Mile this year. "Our primary goal was for me to be approved to run the ARCA race in February. We accomplished that with no problem. From there, we focused on me getting comfortable with the track. It's a lot different from Talladega; night and day honestly. I believe in my team and we have a great amount of support from our sponsors. We're looking forward to kicking off the season in Daytona."
Jennifer Belmont, car owner of the No. 1 and No. 14 noted, "Overall the test went how we expected. We needed to get our rookie drivers approved and they did well for having never driven on such a big track. I am looking forward to a season with the talented drivers that we have signed.The communication and feedback from the testwere positive."
ABR also tested dirt late model ace Jordan Bland who is scheduled to make his transition to the ARCA RE/MAX Series during the 2008 season.