Tom Hessert Recovers Nicely At Talladega For Top-Five FinishPress Release
When Mother Nature soaked the 2.66-mile superspeedway on Thursday afternoon, the teams would be denied their crucial three-hour practice session in the morning followed by qualifying later in the afternoon. With the field set according to the ARCA rule book, the veteran driver found himself seventh in the 43-car lineup.
A short practice session on Friday morning allowed the Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) team led by crew chief Donnie Richeson to “shake down” their automobile, making sure it was ready to compete in the fourth race of the season.
The green flag waived shortly after 4:00 p.m. local time and Hessert remained focused on keeping his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Toyota Camry out of trouble and near the front. By lap-five, Hessert had maneuvered himself into fourth with the three leaders closely ahead of him.
The Cherry Hill, New Jersey remained in the fourth position when the first yellow flag waived on lap 11 when the classic “big one” developed in the tri-oval.
When racing resumed, Hessert nearly immediately began to feel a vibration and quickly notified his crew which informed their driver to bring the car to pit road for an unscheduled stop. Under green, the 25-year old carefully brought his machine to a stop where the KSR team quickly bolted on four new Hoosier tires and sent their pilot back into battle.
Upon inspection, the right-rear tire was deflated. While the decision to pit was the right one, Hessert know found himself without drafting help and in danger of losing a lap to the leaders. Thankfully, a caution flag waived on lap 20 allowing Hessert to regain all the ground he lost on the track.
Restarting 19th, Hessert methodically began working his way towards the front and had nearly reached the top-10 again when the fourth caution flag waived on lap 52 for debris on the racetrack. Under the yellow, Richeson brought his protégé to pit lane for the team’s final stop of the day. The quick work by the KSR team landed the team back inside the top-five for the final segment of the race.
Lap 70, Hessert was fifth in the running order and was able to muscle his way into fourth when the checkered flag waived on lap 94.
“We’ll take fourth, especially after the tire problem early in the race,” said Hessert. “If not for the tire problem, I believe the end results would have been a little different. I feel like our No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Toyota Camry was strong enough to contend for the win, we just ran out of laps. I want to thank the guys on the KSR team for doing an immaculate job throughout the race. They are the ones that made the top-five possible.”
Next up on the tour is the fifth stop of the season at the famed Toledo Speedway, dubbed as the hometown track for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA). The Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care is set for Sunday, May 20. The green flag is set to fly shortly after 2:00 p.m. with live coverage on SPEED. Unofficially, Hessert sits second in the championship point standings, a gain of two spots following his first top-five of 2012 and a mere 55 points out of the championship lead.
Exiting Talladega, Hessert has 87 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 20 top-fives and 46 top-10s.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
Hessert has joined the Twitter crave. Follow and connect with him @TomHessert.
- Tom Hessert Racing Press Release
Article Tags: ARCA, Automobile Racing Club of America, Donnie Richeson, International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250, Ken Schrader Racing, KSR, Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Tom Hessert, Tom Hessert III