Hessert, a nine-year veteran of the ARCA Series, will pilot VMS’s flagship No. 25 Toyota starting next month with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
“This is obviously a big step in my career and I’m excited about the new partnership with Venturini. Change is constant, this presents a great opportunity for me and the team to take it to the next level and compete for an ARCA championship,” said Hessert.
“We’ve raced against each other for a while now. They’ve got a solid organization and I’m really looking forward to the future – new team, new cars, and new supporting cast. It’s very exciting. We have the same goals so I don’t expect it will take long to familiarize myself with the new surroundings and make an impact right away. I’m ready to kick things off at Daytona.”
Hessert, making the journey across the garage from Cunningham Motorsports, finished fourth in the ARCA championship point standings in 2015. During his eight full time ARCA seasons he’s earned five series victories, 47 top-5 and 91 top-10 finishes in 159 career starts.
Since his first full season ARCA effort in 2008, Hessert has yet to finish outside the top-10 in the ARCA driver point standings – finishing in the top-five the last three seasons with victories coming at Talladega, Iowa and three of the last six races at Salem Speedway.
“We’re very excited to have a racer of Tommy’s quality running the entire season with us,” said Billy Venturini. “He’s one of the most likeable and respected drivers in the garage and will be a great addition to our organization. On track I feel we’ll contend every week. Our ultimate goal is the championship and with Tommy in the driver’s seat we like our chances.”
Hessert will make his VMS debut this weekend during ARCA’s open test at Daytona in preparation for the season opening Lucas Oil 200 Saturday, February 13. Ryan ‘Pickle’ London, in his second season with VMS, will resume crew chief duties for the No. 25. London worked with Frank Kimmel and Brandon Jones in 2015 and assisted in the team’s third place finish in owner point standings.
A second generation driver with an impressive pedigree, Hessert is a veteran of USAR Pro Cup Series, USAC Sprints & Midgets and the 24 Hours of Daytona. His father Tom II, a former road course standout, is a three time winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona also earning victories at the Sebring and Watkins Glen road courses.