To say 2011 has been a disappointment is putting it lightly for Tom Hessert, whose debut season with Ken Schrader Racing has been one stretch of bad luck after another; Hessert just a season ago finished third in points and was in the hunt till the final laps in the finale race at Rockingham. This Saturday though, Hessert struck for his first pole in over a year, taking the top starting spot in his title sponsor’s race (the Federated Car Care 200).
Hessert, who went out in the second half of the strong 42 car field that made attempts, held off strong efforts by champion to-be Ty Dillon, Grant Enfinger and two-time Toledo winner Chris Buescher, who will start second, third and fourth for Sunday’s race. Chrissy Wallace rounded out the top 5 behind the wheel of the Cunningham Motorsports No. 22.
“It’s a nice way to close out the year” said Hessert of his time trial win. “The year, we’ve had things that have gone unfortunately. To end the year strong, to show we can go out and contend to win races, it’s good to show we still can.”
Qualifying was not without incident. Zachary Ralston spun the No. 90 machine exiting turn 2 on his first lap and ended up sliding sideways nearly the entire length of the backstretch (Ralston kept the car off the wall, but failed to make Sunday’s field). Also spinning was Venturini Motorsports driver Kyle Fowler, who went around on the frontstretch getting up to speed; Fowler looped his car around, went backwards around the track to start his run over again, and rebounded to qualify the No. 55 13th in his first short-track race of the season.
Both Ryan Wilson and Tim George Jr. had near misses on their laps as well, with both visibly sideways on turn 2 exit.
In addition to Ralston, also missing the field were Tim Walter, Mike Senica, Austin Rettig, Richard Harriman, Roger Carter II and Nick Tucker.
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