Hessert Wins on Final Lap at Salem Speedway - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Courtesy: ARCA

Hessert Wins on Final Lap at Salem Speedway

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Tom Hessert won his second straight ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race at Salem Speedway Sunday, passing Spencer Gallagher on the last lap to take the checkered flag.

Will Kimmel placed third, Kyle Weatherman fourth and Travis Swaim fifth. 

"It got wild out there," Hessert said after the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 presented by Crosley Radio. "It was exciting. My car is a little banged up, but not as bad as some of the others."

Hessert passed Spencer Gallagher after Gallagher took the white flag.

"I was trying to come up with a plan, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do," Hessert said. "I was thinking maybe to get a good run on him in turn two and race hard down to turn three. Fortunately, it didn't come down to that."

Frank Kimmel was in the lead with 10 laps to go but Gallagher passed the hometown favorite on lap 193 when both cars were trying to fight through lapped traffic. Hessert and Kimmel then tangled a couple laps later, bringing out a caution with fewer than five laps to go. Gallagher led from laps 193 to 202.

After taking the white flag, however, Gallagher got loose going into turn two of the high-banked Salem Speedway track and Hessert dove under him to grab the lead. He then beat him and Will Kimmel to the finish line. It was the only lap he led in the race.

"I love this track," Gallagher said after his career-best finish. "It's a great place to race. What you saw there at the end was the difference between four tires and two. What I was afraid was going to happen, happened."

Gallagher said his team did a great job Sunday.

"This Allegiant Air team did a heck of a job today," he said. "I am going home with a nearly destroyed race car and we still finished second."

Weatherman was making his ARCA debut and won the Scott Rookie Challenge for the race with his top-five finish.

"Everyone told me that if I kept my four fenders clean, I would finish strong," the 15-year-old said. "The care might be a little beat up, but that's racing."

Few cars left the .555-mile track unscathed, although the first caution didn't fly until lap 33. Polesitter Justin Boston led the first 59 laps of the race until Daytona winner John Wes Townley made his move to the front. A flurry of pit stops and different tire strategies kept changing the look at the front of the field. Townley led until lap 98 when Frank Kimmel moved to the front and stayed there until lap 143 when Townley - this time after pit stops - regained the lead.

Kimmel took control of the race around the 150-lap mark when several of the eight caution flags fell in a row.

Hessert at one point was a lap down but fought his way back to the front.

"For a while, I don't think we had anything figured out," he said. "But, we came together at the end."

Hessert is the first repeat winner at Salem since Justin Allgaier won the fall race in 2007 and spring race in 2008.

"It's special being part of the few people who have come here and won back to back on this track," Hessert said.

Boston ended up ninth after he was involved in a couple of late-race finishes that left him with a banged up race car.

Frank Kimmel, Grant Enfinger, Milka Duno, Boston and Mason Mingus rounded out the top 10.

Mingus had a great run despite going a couple of laps down early. At times he had the fastest car on the track, even passing all of the leaders to gain some of his laps back. He finished three laps down.

Kyle Benjamin placed 11thafter having to accept a five-lap penalty for re-entering the track in the wrong location after a pit stop. At the end, he was four laps down.Georgia driver Anderson Bowen, 15, was transported to a local hospital for observation after a hard crash with Josh Williams on lap 107.