Tom Hessert III fastest in two-day ARCA test at Daytona

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Tom Hessert III fastest in two-day ARCA test at Daytona
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jan 14, 2018, 4:54 PM

Veteran Tom Hessert III led the way in this week’s two-day preseason ARCA test at Daytona International Speedway.

Andy Seuss
Andy Seuss

Hessert, driving the No. 55 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, posted the fastest average lap speed (185.258 mph) of the 62 drivers who took at least one lap.

Hessert, who drove fives ARCA races last season for Venturini, won the pole for the Daytona season opener last season and finished fifth in the event.

He has never won the Daytona opener but did capture a victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2014.

“The car handled the same during the run, whether we were towards the front, in the middle, or out back,” Hessert, 31, said. “I’m really looking forward to next month.”

Mason Mitchell Motorsports rookie teammates Quin Houff and Blaine Perkins paired-up for the second and third fastest runs of the two-day test. Houff posted an average lap speed of 185.189 mph while Perkins came in at 184.820 mph.

Gus Dean, preparing to run his second full-time ARCA season this year, ended up with the fourth-fastest speed (183.772 mph).

“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.”

Dean hasn’t finished better than 32nd in two career starts at Daytona but earned his first ARCA win at Talladega in 2016. He finished sixth at Talladega last season.

The biggest surprise of the test may have been veteran Dave Mader III, who turned in the fifth-fastest speed of the test (183.352 mph). Mader, 62, last made an ARCA start in the 1994 season. His lone series victory came in 1992 at Michigan.

“The last time I was (at Daytona) was in 1991 racing in the Twin 125s trying to qualify for the Daytona 500 ... we ended up wrecking,” Mader said. “I was at the back of the pack and we sucked up really well to put that lap up on the board.”

The 2018 ARCA season opener, the Lucas Oil 200, is scheduled for a 4:45 p.m. ET start on Saturday, Feb. 10. 

ARCA

Top 25 Overall Combined Test Speeds (Jan. 12-13)

Pos

 

Driver/hometown

Car

Time

Speed

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

Toyota

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

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About this article

Series ARCA
Drivers Tom Hessert , Andy Seuss
Author Jim Utter