It was announced yesterday that Tom Hessert will be making his Camping World Truck Series debut.
This weekend at Phoenix Internationational Raceway in the Lucas Oil 150 and in next week’s Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Hessert will be driving the No. 9 Germain Racing Toyota.
Hessert got his start in racing through his father.
“My dad raced in sports car for a long time in the late 80s/90s and I grew up going to the races,” he told me earlier this year. “I went to my first race when I was two weeks old and fell in love with it then.”
His father has been such an influence on him that he calls him one of his idols.
“My dad was a big influence in my career and my life in general,” he said. “He was a good racecar driver and I learned a lot from him.”
This past year, the Cherry Hill, N.J. native finished second in the ARCA Series points standings this past season with one win, 10 top-fives and 15 top 10s, driving the No. 77 Cherry Hill Classic Cars entry for Cunningham Motorsports.
This past year included a lot of highs for Hessert as he won his first race at Iowa Speedway.
“It’s incredible,” he told me of the experience earlier this year. “It’s my first win in a quite awhile and to win it in that fashion and leading all those laps at Iowa Speedway in front of a great crowd and with the Camping World Truck Series teams being on hand and all those people in the garage area and on Speed, it couldn’t have been a better day.”
Down the road, Hessert hopes to be racing in the NASCAR ranks.
“Well, I hope and wish and dream that I’ll be in NASCAR, whether in a truck or Nationwide car or my goal obviously in a Cup car,” he said. “I know that’s a long way but nights like Saturday night go a long way in shortening that distance.”
To others out there who aspire to drive racecars and move up the ranks, Hessert’s advice is to learn as much as you can.
“Learn every time you get on the race track,” he said. “I know it’s cliché but don’t make the same mistake twice. You got to learn in this sport and you got take your knocks and keep plugging at it and put your head down and stay focused and do what you need to do, set up for the races and do what you got to do.”
Away from the track, Hessert likes to play lots of sports, work out and watch movies.