Tom Hessert Pretty In Pink At Toledo Speedway
Topics: Tom Hessert, Federated Car Care 200, Ken Schrader Racing
TOLEDO, Ohio (October 18, 2011) - It was nearly a picture perfect weekend for Tom Hessert III, Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) and the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala. Sunday’s season finale for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards steered the teams back up in the Midwest to Toledo, Ohio for the running of the Federated Car Care 200.
Federated Car Care, a division of Federated Auto Parts showcased the title sponsorship of the 19th race of the season giving the team an added incentive to return to the half-mile oval stronger than ever.
With the United States Auto Club (USAC) sharing Saturday with the ARCA Racing Series at Toledo Speedway, practice which was normally run as one session would now be combined into two forty minute-efforts. Mounting the fifth and 13th quickest laps in each practice respectively, the KSR driver and team were looking forward to qualifying.
It was Hessert though who stunned the field after maneuvering a lap of 16.080 seconds at 111.940 miles per hour good enough to land his decoratively pink Chevrolet Impala to commemorate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to his second career ARCA pole, the other occurring at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2009.
"It's really cool for us to start up front here at Toledo," Hessert said. "It's the Federated Car Care 200, which is special for us since Federated's been our sponsor all year. It's a really good, solid car. It's a little more meaningful, as a driver, to get a pole at a place like Toledo. Talladega's a really cool race track, but the driver's more of an element here. I'm proud of it. It's exciting and the team brought us a great race car."
Unfortunately, teams returned to the ARCA-owned racetrack on Sunday under gloomy skies and consistent rain showers. Ultimately, the start of the contest would be pushed-back nearly two hours before the command to fire engines was given. ARCA would choose to utilize the 35-car starting field to finish the track drying process throwing both the green and yellow flags simultaneously for the first 40 circuits of the contest. With the yellow flag retracted and the green “officially” given to the field, Hessert controlled the field until lap 42 when eventual series champion Ty Dillon taking the top spot by lap 43 and sending Hessert back to runner-up position.
On a lap 56 restart, Dillon led Hessert by 0.454 second the first time around, using a strong jump to his advantage. Hessert closed the gap over the next several laps, though, and took advantage when Dillon encountered Milka Duno when trying to lap her on lap 62. Hessert and Enfinger drove to the right and around Dillon and re-secured the lead, controlling the half-way point but with the No. 17 of Chris Buescher hunting for the top spot. On lap 106, Buescher made a move going into turn three sending Hessert back into second only to be passed by Dillon a lap later to occupy the third position by lap 108.
Hessert would remain in a podium finishing position until the yellow flag waived 10 laps later which allowed the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native the opportune time to enter pit road for tires and fuel under the guidance of long-time Motorsports crew chief Donnie Richeson.
A solid effort for KSR on pit allowed their driver to return to the track in the 10th position and begin a charge back towards the front on lap 124. By lap 132, Hessert had brilliantly crafted his Chevrolet to sixth and closing. Just six laps later, the former CARS Pro Cup star found himself in the same position he did entering pit road sitting on the tails of leaders Buescher and Dillon.
As racing pressed on, the action heated up with Hessert now having to battle Brendan Poole for the third position. Poole would eventually win the spot bypassing the No. 52 on lap 153.
Hunkered in fourth, the pressure would be put on the 25 year old approaching lap 177 when battling the No. 58 of Chad Hackenbracht. Unable to maneuver around Hessert, Hackenbracht offered a shove from behind which knocked the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala sideways igniting a short track feud with Hessert returning the favor a lap later but with Hackenbracht spinning out on the frontstretch, bringing out the yellow flag.
By lap 183 Hessert had fell to fifth after being passed by Chad McCumbee with Hessert finding his groove on the track. A green-white-checkered finish allowed Ryan Wilson and Grant Enfinger the opportunity to pass Hessert who by then had moved back into fourth after the leaders collided on lap 199, but to no avail. Hessert took the checkered flag in fourth, notching his fourth top-five finish at Toledo Speedway.
“We would have liked to close out the season with a win, but we just didn’t have the car at the end of the race,” said Hessert, who led a race-high 86 laps. “Everyone at Ken Schrader Racing put their heart and soul into this car this weekend and we were able to score the pole and run up front all day long. I want to thank Federated Auto Parts and all of their partners for their support of our team all year long.”
Hessert’s pole which rewarded him with 15 bonus points toppled with his 13th top-10 of the season allowed the NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car ace to slide past Tim George Jr. in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings to claim sixth overall.
In all, Hessert made 19 starts this season posting one pole, seven top-fives, 13 top-10s and 114 laps led in two races (Salem (Ind.) Speedway and Toledo Speedway).
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is the 2011 championship banquet which is set for Saturday, December 10th at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., near Cincinnati. The top-20 drivers and top-10 owners and drivers will be recognized for their participation in the series this year.
In addition to Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars served as an associate marketing partner for Hessert’s 83rd career ARCA start. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 19 top-fives and 43 top-10s.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
To join Hessert and Ken Schrader Racing in their plan to spread the message about Breast Cancer awareness and to order you own “Pink” KSR memorabilia, please visit SchraderRacing.com.
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|