Tom Hessert and Josh Williams Make ARCA Championship Gainsby Kyle Pokrefky August 26, 2015 0 comments
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Mechanical issues for ARCA Racing Series championship leader Grant Enfinger have afforded Tom Hessert and Josh Williams a lifeline heading into the fourth-to-last race of the season at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
As Enfinger fell off of the lead lap after losing power to his No. 23 Chevrolet prior to Lap 10, all Hessert and Williams had to do to claw their way towards the top of the championship was stay out trouble.
Stay out of trouble both drivers did as Williams came home with a fourth-place finish with Hessert coming home right behind him in fifth.
Williams’s chances of scoring his first series win ran high as he started on the front row for several late restarts; but, the 22-year-old from Port Charlotte, Fla. had difficulties in getting the top lane going.
“You’re always at a disadvantage here being on the top with all of the dust and stuff,” Williams explained. “I just wanted to keep the car as clean as we could, this is the only car we have left to run the dirt races.
“I just had to keep it clean and come home with a good finish. We had a good points day, the No. 23 had a little bit of trouble, so that helped us out a bunch.”
For Hessert, a former driver in the USAC National Midget Series, his day was a continual work in progress. Despite grabbing the lead momentarily past the halfway point of the race, the journey to move towards the front of the field started as a struggle for the
“I guess it all starts at the beginning really – the first run, the first stint of tires,” Hessert said. “The second stint we pitted and we were just so damn tight on the second run and we couldn’t really do much.
“Fortunately, a couple restarts worked our way at the end and we were able to get a couple of spots. All in all, fifth was a good day – but certainly not what we wanted.”
Exiting Springfield, Williams and Hessert respectively sit 150 and 195 points behind Enfinger heading into DuQuoin with sophomore driver Austin Wayne Self wedged between them at 180 points back.
Ultimately, what concerns Williams more than the points battle is finishing up front and going for race wins, the latter being a goal that’s drawing closer after each respective race.
“I told my guys ‘look, we don’t need to worry about points, we just need to worry about being up front’ and that’s kind of been our philosophy all year and it’s worked out pretty good,” Williams said. “We need to finish ahead of the No. 23 and No. 98, but all-in-all, we just want to win.”
As for Hessert, he recognizes that his No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports crew is still far back from striking distance at the points lead, but their Springfield result serves as a start to get back in the title hunt following disastrous races at Pocono Raceway and Berlin Raceway.
“I know we made up ground, but we’re still so far back, I’m sure,” Hessert said. “But, with that being said, hell, you never know what’s going to happen. We’ll keep plugging away and hopefully we’ll get somewhere.”
Photo Credit: ARCARacing.com