Tom Hessert Falls Just Short Of Victory At Springfield; Finishes Second
Topics: Tom Hessert, Allen Crowe 100, Ken Schrader Racing
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (August 22, 2011) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey native Tom Hessert III did everything he possibly could with his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala Sunday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield) to pass eventual winner Chad McCumbee, but the Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) driver would come up one position short of victory in the Allen Crowe 100.
Still, the finish is a continued boost for Hessert and his John Monsam-led team as their recent string of six consecutive top-10s which has lifted the team morale as the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season slowly begins to dwindle down.
Hessert, a former USAC driver with experience at the historic one-mile oval was considered a pre-race favorite considering his previous success and drive in the “mud.” Sunday’s race proved to be no different for the ARCA fan favorite.
A extremely short one-day show for the teams and competitors would send them into practice just after 9:00 a.m. Hessert in his Chevrolet bowtie would maneuver several laps around the track and inch his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala up to seventh on the rundown.
With the track showing some uncharacteristic conditions, Hessert wasn’t fazed by the team’s performance in practice. He knew that he had a good piece underneath him.
Qualifying was set just one hour from the conclusion of practice which allowed just enough time for Hessert to regain his thoughts and steer his concentration momentarily towards time trials. Hessert was the next-to-last competitor to maneuver a qualifications lap. In attack mode, Hessert muscled ironically the seventh fastest lap overall.
“We have a good car for the race,” offered Hessert. “The track slowed down a bunch from practice, so I wasn’t really surprised with our lap time. I think the conditions will be in our favor though when the green flag drops.”
Hessert wasn’t kidding. Almost immediately after receiving the green flag for the 14th race of the season, the ARCA pro began flexing his muscle and machine by punching his way into the top-five by lap 20.
The former USARacing Pro Cup Series competitor would maintain his position inside the top-five as the field spread out considerably during the first run of the day, until the caution waived on lap 36.
It was during the yellow that Monsam chose to bring his driver to pit road for the mandated stop by ARCA officials. Four tires, fuel and a minor chassis adjustment was the call from the ring leader with Hessert rejoining the field in the third position.
By lap 47, Hessert made the move on Will Kimmel and set his sights on championship leader Ty Dillon. An incident in turn one on lap 52 would bring the freeze the field with Hessert now tucked on the rear-bumper of Dillon’s No. 41 Chevrolet.
On the restart, Hessert attempted to take the lead from Dillon on the backstretch and for a quick moment pulled ahead in the number one spot before a hard-charging Chad McCumbee made a bold move around Hessert to re-obtain the top spot.
A few cautions over the next forty laps would allow Hessert to tag onto the rear of McCumbee and have a shot at his second career ARCA victory. However, it would be for not – as McCumbee would fend off the Federated Auto Parts Racing team to the checkered flag, which came in overtime as an incident broke out in turn three on lap 99; setting up for the extended laps.
Hessert climbed out of his KSR smiling after delivering the team’s best effort of 2011 thus far.
“We had a good car, but Chad’s was hooked up,” said Hessert. “Congratulations to him. I cannot thank Federated Auto Parts, John (Monsam) and this entire Ken Schrader Racing team for giving me the opportunity. This was my best finish at Springfield and easily continues our stretch of good runs. I knew that even though we didn’t lay down the laps that we wanted to in practice or qualifying, we didn’t have anything to worry about as I felt our car would come to life in the race. That she did.”
Hessert’s 78th career ARCA start stretches a string of six consecutive top-10s paired with three consecutive top-fives excelling past the team’s previous season-best of fourth just two weeks prior at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
“Momentum is on our side right now and we need to keep it alive,” added Hessert. “The team has really gelled over the last couple of months and it’s shown on the track with our performances. We’re knocking on the backdoor to answering with a victory. I have a feeling it’s going to come sooner rather than later.”
Hessert’s fifth top-five of the year and 11th top-10 overall has him tied with McCumbee for the fifth position at 2,995 points apiece. 210 points separate both drivers from third and fourth in the championship standings hoisted by Grant Enfinger and Chris Buescher who are also tied for those positions respectively.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is an overdue return to Madison International Speedway for the running of the Herr’s Live Life With Flavor 200. The one-day show is set for Friday, August 26 with the green flag scheduled to waive just after 8:30 p.m. local. The series returns to the half-mile short track for the first time since 1973.
In addition to Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars served as an associate marketing partner for Hessert’s 78th career ARCA start. In those outings, he has maneuvered one win, 17 top-fives and 41 top-10s.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|