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Tom Hessert Drained Of Strong Finish At Salem Speedway

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Tom Hessert, Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic

Tom Hessert Drained Of Strong Finish At Salem Speedway

Chris Knight
Knight Motorsports Management
September 19, 2011

SALEM, Indiana (September 19, 2011) - Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) driver Tom Hessert III strutted his stuff on Saturday night in the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic presented by Federated Car Care at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond the driver’s control yielded in a less than desirable finish for the second consecutive race.

After an engine failure plagued the operation at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds two weeks ago while hunting for his second career ARCA Racing Series victory, Hessert returned to one of the most complicated racetracks on the circuit itching for some redemption and to put his team back on the strait of narrow this past weekend.

The one-day show definitely started off on the right foot as by the conclusion of the lone hour and a half practice session Saturday afternoon, Hessert bolted his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala to the second-quickest lap overall; giving the team a confidence booster heading into qualifying.

Being the second car to qualify for the 17th race of the season eventually landed the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native sixth overall, tying his starting position for KSR in the spring Salem event.

Despite starting on the outside of row three, Hessert knew that he had a good car underneath him and was quickly capable of chewing his way into the top-five.

The green flag for the 90th ARCA race at the Southern Indiana bullring began shortly after 7:15 p.m. with Hessert clawing his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet into fourth by lap seven. It was evident from there that the team had a stout racecar.

Racing resumed on lap 12 with Hessert focused on third place runner Max Gresham. Unable to move his way around Gresham, Hessert found himself content to ride in fourth until Gresham cut a tire on lap 42 moving the No. 52 up the leader board to third overall where he remained through the race’s first 50 circuits.

Just 12 laps later though, Hessert’s chances of a strong run turned doubtful as the ARCA veteran informed his team that he had no power underneath his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala, which he immediately pre-diagnosed as a battery problem.

The KSR team methodically changed the battery on their entry and sent their driver back into competition despite falling several laps off the pace. From that point, it was a battle of survival for the former USARacing Pro Cup Series competitor.

As the race pressed on, Hessert would have to come down pit road subsequently twice under green flag conditions for what later would be officially described as an alternator belt failure, which resulted in three batteries drained to its capacity. To add insult to injury, Hessert’s motor would seize in the late stages of his eighth Salem Speedway start, which would eventually park the team for the night and force a frustrating 19th place finish.

“I wanted to badly have a good run for all the Federated Auto Parts employees and guests in the stands,” offered Hessert. “We had a really good piece and we were going to be real good. The guys never gave up though. Despite the situation, they never buckled and I’m proud of them for that. Hopefully we can go to Kansas in a couple weeks and shake our bad streak and end the season on a high note.”

With two races remaining on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards calendar, Hessert occupies seventh in the championship standings 95 points behind sixth place runner Tim George Jr. and just 125 markers from fifth place contender Chad McCumbee.

Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is their penultimate event at Kansas Speedway for the running of the Kansas Lottery 98.9 which is set to launch on Friday, October 7 live on SPEED. Hessert will join a slew of ARCA competitors at the 1.5-mile oval on Tuesday, September 20th for an open testing session in preparation for round 18.

In addition to Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars served as an associate marketing partner for Hessert’s 81st career ARCA start. In those outings, he has maneuvered one win, 18 top-fives and 42 top-10s.

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

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

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