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ARCA Daytona Debut Proves Profitable for Rookie Hessert

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Tom Hessert, ARCA RE/MAX 200

ARCA Daytona Debut Proves Profitable for Rookie Hessert

Patti Kelly
Andy Belmont Racing
February 10, 2008

For Immediate Release
Contact: Patti Kelly
Andy Belmont Racing

(Daytona Beach, FL) -- When young race car drivers dream of racing in Daytona, reality can hit like a ton of bricks, but for rookie Tom Hessert III, this reality was like a walk in the park.

Starting the #1 MAACO Collision Repair and Auto Painting Ford Fusion from the 11th spot on the grid for the ARCA RE/MAX 200 at Daytona International Speedway, Hessert kept the car to the front of the pack and capitalizing on the misfortunes suffered by those behind him. The decision to keep the car out on the track during the first cautions put Hessert in the lead on lap 24, a position he kept for next 21 rounds until another caution allowed for a yellow flag pit stop on lap 45.

Taking on only two tires, Hessert returned to the track in the 18th position but quickly gathered up the real estate in his march towards the front of the field. Nine laps later Hessert had regained the 6th spot and kept the car among the lead pack to the checkered flag.

“We had no help out there at the end, “said Hessert, “And you can’t do it by yourself. The car was great today and the race unfolded just like we wanted. We made no adjustments to the car during our stop. If I had to do it again, I might have taken four tires there, but Andy Belmont Racing gave me a great car and it went pretty much like we had planned.”

“We stuck with our game plan,” said Andy Belmont. “We knew it was the right call to keep Tom out at the beginning and come in to pit when we were ready to. You couldn’t have asked for a better driver today. He’s so calm on the radio and doesn’t get rattled. Tom Hessert earned a lot of respect from the series’ veterans today and a lot of people had some great things to say about him. I pushed the guys at the shop unmercifully this winter and they weren’t happy then but they are happy now.”

At only 21 years of age, Tom Hessert III rolled into Daytona International Speedway for his inaugural ARCA RE/MAX Series start. He qualified the #1 MAACO Ford Fusion 11th on the starting grid, finished 6th in his first race at Daytona, leading 21 laps out of 80 in his first experience racing in the draft, earning the SunTrust Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race honors along the way. “He’s just that good,” said team owner Andy Belmont.

For more information, please log on to www.andybelmont.com.


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