Tom Hessert Beams In Pocono With Another Top-10
Topics: Tom Hessert, Pocono ARCA 200
LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 13, 2011) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey native Tom Hessert III racked up his third consecutive top-10 finish in a row and third top-10 effort at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in seven tries during Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200.
The solid finish for 25-year old further solidifies a season of consistency in the last six of the series’ first seven races. In his first tango with the 2.5-mile oval driving for NASCAR legend Ken Schrader, Hessert in his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala were looking to boast a finish that his John Monsam led team could lean on during the stretch of the of June which consists of four consecutive races.
In practice on Friday morning, Hessert guided his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala to the 12th fastest lap after producing a lap around the “Tricky Triangle” in 56.200 seconds at 160.142 miles per hour. Not exactly satisfied with the outcome, Monsam and Hessert, an avid road racer put their heads together looking for additional speed and a better feel on their No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala.
With changes made, the team headed into Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying hopeful. During his one lap duo with the Long Pond race track, Hessert negotiated a lap of 55.939 seconds at 160.890 miles per hour lining up their Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) machine 11th in the starting grid.
Mother Nature has played havoc with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for much of the season and Saturday proved to be no different. With a light mist in the air, the drop of the green flag for the seventh race of the season would waive shortly before 2:00 p.m.
From the drop of the green flag, Hessert’s No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet made the march towards the front. With the field quickly stretching out, the former USAC pilot hunkered himself comfortably in the top-10. By lap 10, Hessert had moved into the ninth position and climbed to eighth when Hal Martin lost a motor on lap 17.
The first caution flag of the day would waive on lap 18 for an incident on the backstretch. Hessert reported to Monsam that his KSR machine was tight throughout the racetrack. The crew chief acknowledged his driver concern during the first routine pit stop of the day on lap 19 which included four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment.
With light rain falling and fog present, the caution period extended over the next 12 laps, and initially, ARCA officials decided to drop the green flag on lap 32. After restarts to begin laps 32 and 33 were aborted, officials instructed drivers to drive down pit road to close lap 35 where the red flag would be issued as everyone waited for the fog to lift.
A short time later, the cars would be re-fired and moved from pit road. The green flag would fly on lap 38. Bolting from the sixth position on the restart, Hessert would hover in the top-10 over the next 12 laps despite the tightness in his Chevrolet bow-tie returning. When the caution flag waived on lap 50, it allowed Monsam a planned opportunity for a final trip to pit road for his young driver for new tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment. Returning to the track and green flag conditions in the eighth position, Hessert would battle hard with nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel. Despite a gallant effort by Hessert, Kimmel overtook the No. 52 Chevrolet. Just as quickly, the caution flag waived again for dense fog around the facility. Red flag conditions would again adorn the field but ultimately the fog would force ARCA officials to consider the race complete on lap 59 with Hessert scored in the ninth position.
“Unfortunately, we were a little too tight than we wanted to be,” said Hessert. “Everyone on the KSR team did a good job this weekend. The fog played havoc with all of us. From down in my seat to up in the spotter’s stand, so it was definitely an interesting race. While we would have liked to have had a better finish, we won’t complain about a top-10 and just look for more not only next week at Michigan but when we come back to Pocono in August.”
With his five top-10 run of the year, Hessert remains seventh in the championship standings 30 points ahead of Tim George Jr.
In addition to Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars served as an associate marketing partner for Hessert’s 71st career ARCA start. In those 71 outings, he has maneuvered one win, 13 top-fives and 35 top-10s.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is round eight of 19 on the 2011 schedule. The RainEater Wiper Blades 200 from the two-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway (MIS) is set for Friday, June 17th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern live on SPEED. Hessert will make his fourth career start in the “Irish Hills” and look to improve on his best MIS finish of 15th coming last June driving for Cunningham Motorsports.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management
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