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Tom Hessert Charges To Top-Five At Lucas Oil Raceway

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Tom Hessert, Ansell Protective Gloves 200

Tom Hessert Charges To Top-Five At Lucas Oil Raceway

Chris Knight
Knight Motorsports Management
Ken Schrader Racing
August 1, 2011

Tom Hessert
CLERMONT, Indiana (August 1, 2011) - - Patience and determination were the key ingredients for Tom Hessert III in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards return to Lucas Oil Raceway Thursday night for the Ansell Protective Gloves 200.

Returning to the .686-mile paved oval for the first time since his USAC career, the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native aboard Ken Schrader Racing’s No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala eyed another strong run that would continue his climb in the second-half of the season.

In the lone practice session of the day Thursday afternoon, Hessert with crew chief John Monsam collected the 20th fastest lap at 23.432 seconds at 105.394 miles per hour. Baffled by the performance in practice, the Ken Schrader Racing team went back to the drawing board and opted to make several changes to their Chevrolet in time for qualifying.

The changes worked in time trials as Hessert mounted the 17th fastest lap after mounting a time of 23.052 seconds or 107.132 miles per hour. Somewhat content with their starting position, Hessert and his KSR team had hoped their car would dial into the track’s changing conditions as the temperatures began to fall and the sun began to set.

Early on in the 12th race of the season, Hessert slowly picked his way through the field. Moving into the top-15 by lap eight and hovering safely within that group, it was evident that the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala was reacting positively.

Electing to come to pit road following a caution on lap 41, Hessert received tires and fuel before rejoining the field in the 17th position. Unable to get his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala to rotate from the center off earlier in the day, his handling hiccup improved considerably as the race motored on.

By lap 50, the former USARacing Pro Cup Series star had climbed into the 15th position tracking down rookie Jared Marks. Stalking Marks until a caution waived on lap 60, Hessert continued to deliver respectable lap times despite being marred in heavy traffic.

Monsam informed his driver to remain on the race track during the yellow flag which allowed the 25-year old to jump into the fifth position after several cars ahead of him made their first pit stop of the day.

With the heat on from his fellow racers, Hessert would have to defend for every position on the race track, though the cars on newer tires were able to maneuver their way past Hessert leaving him 10th by the half-way mark.

After a quick caution, Hessert restarted eighth finding himself in a comfort zone until he would be able to make his final pit stop of the day. That opportunity came on lap 120 when the No. 5 spun. Monsam brought his protégé down pit lane for tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment – hoping to help his KSR automobile rotate even more.

When the yellow waived yet again on lap 130, Hessert had climbed from 14th to 10th. On the ensuing restart, heads-up driving by the former NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series pilot allowed him to avoid a massacre on the frontstretch as several lead cars collided. The carnage allowed Hessert to leap to sixth where he found himself hovering for the final 57 laps of the contest. A move by Chad Hackenbracht on lap 145 allowed Hessert to hop into the fifth spot. Having to fend off former teammate Dakoda Armstrong inside the final 50 laps, Monsam elected to keep his driver on the race track after a caution waived lining the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala in the runner-up spot. Eventually having to give-way to the cars on newer Hoosier rubber, Hessert would not go down without a fight and was able to hold on to the fifth spot where he took the checkered flag. “I’m happy with that,” said Hessert who recorded his third top-five of the season. “We weren’t real happy with our No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala earlier but John kept working on it and the car responded nicely to the changes. It was great to be back at LOR, I wish we could have had something for those leaders, but we just need to keep hammering out these types of finishes and we’ll be in contention for the win real soon.”

With seven races remaining, Hessert is tied for sixth in the championship standings with Tim George Jr. 90 points separate Hessert from fifth place runner Chad McCumbee.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is a return to trip to the “Tricky Triangle” at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for the running of the Pennsylvania 125. The 50-lap shootout is set for Saturday, August 6 with live coverage on the SPEED channel beginning at 3:00 p.m. In June, Hessert finished ninth after starting 11th in the fog-shorten Pocono ARCA 200.

In addition to Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars served as an associate marketing partner for Hessert’s 75th career ARCA start. In his previous 76 outings, he has maneuvered one win, 15 top-fives and 39 top-10s.

For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management PHONE: 239.834.9797 EMAIL: chris@chrisknightpr.com

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