Thursday May 3, 2012
TALLADEGA, Alabama (May 2, 2012) – - When it comes to restrictor plate racing a racecar driver will tell you they either love it or hate it. For Tom Hessert III, driver of the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Toyota Camry he will tell you that the intense racing that you can expect in Friday’s International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway will be something he looks forward to.
The Cherry Hill, New Jersey native will look to improve on his 10th place run in the season-opening restrictor plate race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and put his Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) team on the map. The veteran ARCA driver will make his fifth start at the 2.66-mile superspeedway and look to mount his fourth consecutive top-10 at the facility.
To help Hessert pull off the feat, the KSR team led by veteran crew chief Donnie Richeson participated in the open-test session a few weeks ago where the team concentrated on several areas to help produce speed in their No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Toyota Camry. With race week now upon them, Hessert is eager to see what the team has produced.
“We were content with the way we tested, but we knew we still had some work to do, so the guys have been thrashing on our Toyota Camry getting it ready for Friday,” said Hessert, whose best finish at Talladega occurred last April with KSR when he finished sixth. “We don’t get to run Toyota much but this speedway car always seems to step up to the plate and provide some muscle under the hood when we need it. The biggest area we’ve concentrated on is getting the car to draft better. Ultimately, I think that’s what we’re going to need at the end of the day to have a shot at a good finish.”
He added, “I really think with the cars that are planning to be there, we’re going to see an intense race. It’s going to be a strong field, just like Daytona. The action tends to get tenser when we come to Talladega for whatever reason, but that fans love it and that’s what really matters. No one wants or really cares for a single-file race. I don’t expect that, I think you’ll see a lot of side-by-side racing and three and maybe four-wide racing in the closing laps. I just hope that when push comes to shove, we’re around when it counts the most.”
With a top-five finish escaping the team last weekend at Salem (Ind.) Speedway, the former NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car driver is eager to rebound and produce the team’s third top-10 in four races.
“Really, circumstances beyond our control kept us from scoring our first top-five of the year, but I’m really proud of the efforts by the team. They gave me a really strong racecar and that’s a positive feeling as we keep marching forward,” Hessert noted.
Hessert has been able to prove over the last three years that if you’re able to stay out of the chaos that sometimes erupts during the course of a restrictor plate race; you can find yourself in a prime position when the last lap arrives.
“I came really close to winning at Talladega in 2010, but all heck broke loose on the last lap and I had the win literally stolen from me within the last mile or so of the race,” he recalled. “It definitely was heartbreaking, but I’ve been itching for a fair rematch since. We tried last year, but came up short. This year, we’re going all in. It would be big to win at a place like Talladega. It’s ARCA 50th trip there. That’s a milestone in its own. If we were able to pull off the task of winning – that’s a bit of Hall of Fame material in my eyes.”
Three races down, 17 to go; Hessert currently ranks fourth in the championship standings, 75 points behind the leader and 30 points behind second. “Talladega is one of those pivotal races as far as the championship standings is concerned. I think we’ve already made up our minds that we’re going to try and obtain some bonus points. Who knows that could determine the overall outcome when Kansas rolls around in October,” Hessert said.
The International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 (94 laps / 250 miles) is the fourth of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 50th ever ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway is a two-day show. Practice begins Thursday, May 3rd with a three hour practice session planned from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 5:05 p.m. Coverage of time trials is available online through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com in collaboration with Alabama’s local WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM. A 45-minute final practice has been etched in on Friday, April 4th from 10:00 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. The event will take the green flag that afternoon shortly after 4:00 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional live broadcasting available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com in collaboration with Alabama’s local WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM. All times are local (Central).
Entering Talladega, Hessert has 86 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 19 top-fives and 45 top-10s.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
Hessert has joined the Twitter crave. Follow and connect with him @TomHessert.
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Bryan Davis Keith.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!