Tom Hessert Powers From The Back To The Front At Pocono
Tom Hessert Powers From The Back To The Front At Pocono
LONG POND, Pennsylvania (August 8, 2011)
Knight Motorsports Management
Ken Schrader Racing
August 8, 2011
- - Tom Hessert III started dead last in the Pennsylvania ARCA 125, but when the checkered flag was thrown in the 50-lap dash, the driver of the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala mounted his season-best finish in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Hessert, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey returned to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway hoping to improve on the team’s ninth place performance from June. Optimistic about their chances, Hessert and crew chief John Monsam had a game plan heading into the first and only practice session of the weekend Friday afternoon.
The team’s practice effort was thwarted though when they opted to change the engine on their Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) machine after planting the 14th quickest time overall in the field. The team hustled with the motor change with qualifying taking place a few hours at the conclusion of practice.
Magnificent work by the KSR team had their driver buckled into his racecar and ready to tackle the 2.5-mile oval in qualifying where the ARCA veteran maneuvered the 10th quickest time overall. Considering the circumstances, the team was content with the outcome.
The bad news for Hessert and his bunch would be that they would have to forfeit their starting position because of the engine change and tag onto the rear of the 41-car pack for the start of the 13th race of the season.
Just two hours before the Pennsylvania ARCA 125 was set to take the green flag on Saturday, Mother Nature stormed her way into eastern Pennsylvania where she completely drenched the 2.5-mile oval leaving the race in jeopardy for the day. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., officials from ARCA and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway elected to postpone the race until after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dash, which was also delayed until Sunday morning.
Overcoming challenges is something that Hessert has been accustomed to during his ARCA career and the former USARacing Pro Cup Series star was determined to excel in his eighth start at the Long Pond race track.
From the drop of the green flag, Hessert looked like he had been shot out of a cannon as his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala brilliantly made moves around his competitors to easily climb into the 28th position by the completion of lap one.
Hessert would have to thread the needle as he entered turn one as several racecars collided immediately bringing the field to yellow flag conditions. Nearly twenty minutes later, the field resumed action on lap 14 with the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala nestled in the 20th position; the 26-year old continued to mount the climb towards the top-10.
With the caution flag waiving just after the halfway point secured in the 14th position Monsam elected to bring his driver down pit road for the pre-planned only stop of the race. Two tires and fuel was the call from above with the pit strategy allowing Hessert to propel himself into the third position for the restart.
Another quick caution developed just after retaking the green which involved the second place competitor of Max Gresham. With Gresham forced to pit, Hessert moved into the runner-up position. He held the spot inside the final 11 laps of the race, before Chris Buescher on fresher rubber made the pass on the No. 52 sliding Hessert back into third.
Unable to fend off a hard-charging Tim George Jr., Hessert slipped back to fourth where he remained for the final nine laps of the race and took the checkered flag.
Hessert’s run on Sunday tied his best finish at the historic Pennsylvania race track. Last June, Hessert rallied his No. 77 Classic Cars Dodge Charger from his ninth place starting position to finish fourth. It was also the 25-year olds best outing of the season surpassing three fifth place finishes at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and last week at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“I have no reason to complain about today,” said Hessert. “I have to thank the guys on the Ken Schrader Racing team for working hard despite all the obstacles we faced. The car was really good. John made a great call with about twenty laps to go to get us some track position and it paid off big time. He’s the man for sure. I’m also happy for Federated Auto Parts as we were able to give them their best run of the season so far. We aren’t done yet; we’re going to do everything we can to get to victory lane before season’s end.”
Hessert’s fourth top-five and 10th top-10 of the 2011 season has him sixth overall in the championship standings sitting just 10 points behind fifth place runner Tim George Jr. with just six races remaining.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the first of two dirt races of the season. The 14th race of the year steers the teams to Illinois before landing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield) for the running of the Allen Crowe 100 set for Sunday, August 21. Hessert will make his fifth start there and look to improve on a track-best third place finish posted in 2010.
In addition to Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars served as an associate marketing partner for Hessert’s 77th career ARCA start. In those 77 outings, he has maneuvered one win, 16 top-fives and 40 top-10s.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|