Friday August 24, 2012
MARNE, Michigan (August 13, 2012) – - On the heels of a runner-up finish in his most recent ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis a few weeks ago, Tom Hessert III and his Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) had high hopes of a duplicate performance in Saturday night’s Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz Group at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway.
However, the team’s second tango together at the 0.4-mile paved oval would not come without its headaches. After mounting the 10th quickest lap in the first practice session, Hessert and his Donnie Richeson-led team were optimistic for final practice. But, the team never had a chance to get up to speed as the engine expired underneath the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala quickly seizing the team’s track time for the remainder of the day.
With a relatively quick turnaround from practice to Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell, the team would forfeit the opportunity to record a lap in time trials and instead rely on a provisional to make the starting grid for the 15th race of the season.
Of course, a lot of unknowns were going through the mind of the Cherry Hill, New Jersey driver before the start of the race, but Hessert would have to put his mind at ease and concentrate on driving his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala through the field from his 27th place starting position.
Early into the 200-lap event, it was evident that Hessert was a man on a mission. By the completion of lap 10, the 26-year old had moved his way up 13 positions, to hover in 14th. 10 laps later, Hessert was knocking on the door of entering the top-10 by riding 11th and just five laps later, Hessert marched into the top-10 and clearly had one of the fastest vehicles on the track.
By lap 40, Hessert had wrestled his way to ninth as he found the competition to be stiffer the closer he wedged his way towards the lead pack. Just 15 laps later though, the ARCA veteran brilliantly had crafted his bowtie into the seventh position where he remained through the halfway-point.
In recent Berlin (Mich.) Raceway fashion, the ARCA Racing Series took on a long green flag run which sent crew chiefs on pit road scrambling as it appeared that many of the leaders would be forced to make their mandatory pit stop under racing conditions. With nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel controlling the field, the front runners began ducking off the track in turn one to make their scheduled trip to pit lane.
Under the guidance of Richeson, Hessert brought his automobile for service on lap 125 with four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Returning to the circuit, the driver found himself some three laps down to leader Kimmel.
The second-generation racer was able to attack the leader with his newer Hoosier rubber and recover two of his lost laps on his own. Still clean and green through the event’s first 150 circuits, Hessert found himself eighth but when the night’s first caution flag finally waived at lap 161, the KSR team would be scored as the first entry one lap down, making them the “lucky dog” recipient and placing them back on the lead circuit.
Through the race’s final 30 circuits, Hessert would take advantage of the event’s second yellow to line-up on the back bumper of the lead lap cars settling the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala into the sixth position.
By lap 187, Hessert chewed up the race cars of rookies Mason Mitchell and Chase Elliott to move into fourth where he would settle and take the checkered flag. In all, the finish was Hessert’s fifth top-five of the year and fifth consecutive top-10 run at the Marne, Michigan short track in the past five years (2008 – 2012).
“It was a good night for Federated Auto Parts and everyone on the Ken Schrader Racing team,” said Hessert. “We honestly didn’t know what we would have for the race because of the engine change. But, the car really came to life during the race and we were able to use that to our advantage to get a good finish. Berlin’s one of my favorite tracks, so being able to keep the steak alive of five straight top-10 finishes is a pretty neat thing. I just want to thank Donnie (Richeson) and the guys for their hard work. It certainly paid off.”
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards in their 60th anniversary season is the first of two dirt tracks on the 2012 schedule. The Allen Crowe 100 from the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield) is set for Sunday, August 19 with the 100 lap-event scheduled to take the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. (Central).
Exiting Berlin, Hessert has 96 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 24 top-fives and 51 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.
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