BROOKLYN, Michigan (June 20, 2011) – – Tom Hessert III in the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala SS for Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) had high hopes for Friday’s RainEater Wiper Blades 200 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). However, a solid start to the eighth race of the season, the team would encounter some setbacks that ultimately would take the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native from competition.
On the heels of three consecutive top-10 runs, Hessert was aiming to put his blue and white Chevrolet bowtie up front in the Motor City. After mounting the 12th fastest time in the lone practice session on Thursday afternoon, the KSR team led by crew chief John Monsam were set to tackle qualifying.
Friday morning offered both time trials and Hessert’s fourth tango with MIS. In qualifications, Hessert posted the 15th fastest time overall, the team’s seventh top-15 starting position thus far in 2011.
At the start of the RainEater Wiper Blades 200, Hessert was a man on a mission. Quickly maneuvering his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala SS through the competitive field, Hessert was able to move into the 14th position when the first caution flag of the day waived on lap three.
Restarting the event on lap 10, Hessert returned to battle and continued to climb the leader board. With a solid race setup underneath him, the former USAC competitor found himself knocking on the door of entering the top-10 by lap 20.
With a quarter of the race over with, Hessert found himself contained in the 11th position as the field began to stretch out during the green flag run. Reporting to Monsam of a tight condition on his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala SS, the team would have an opportunity to adjust on their race car when the yellow flag waived on lap 30 for debris with Hessert finally able to climb into the 10th position.
Restarting the race on lap 37, Hessert held onto the 10th position before finding himself in a taunting battle with Bryan Silas and Chad Hackenbracht. While the three continued to battle for ninth, 10th and 11th.
With Hackenbracht overtaking the No. 52 by lap 38, Hessert re-entered the top-10 on lap 40 when third place runner Sean Corr lost a right front tire. The yellow flag waived again on lap 41 when the No. 55 of Hal Martin also lost a right front tire with Hessert locked in the ninth position.
The former USARacing Pro Cup Series star would have to relinquish his position inside the top-10 when Hessert reported a problem with the brakes on his General Motors automobile generated from debris on the race track. Coming to the attention of his KSR crew, the team determined that the right front brake line had been broken, which the team repaired and bleed but in the process Hessert lost a lap to the competition.
Down but not out, Hessert was determined to become the Aaron’s Lucky Dog when he restarted the race in the 19th position.
Unfortunately, the team’s day would go from bad to worse as on lap 52, Hessert lost a right rear tire on his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet sending his machine hard into the outside wall, collecting Maryeve Dufault along the way.
Although heavily damaged, Hessert tried to re-fire his machine and head to the garage but to no avail. Stopped on the backstretch, Hessert would climb into the ambulance for the mandatory trip to the infield care center, where he would be later be treated and released.
“It’s a shame, because I really thought we were going to have a good day,” said Hessert. “We were methodically moving our way through the field and then the problems seemed to have piled on us. The Federated Auto Racing team did a great job repairing the brake line. We went back out there, just trying to find ourselves in the hunt for the lucky dog and I knew something was wrong but the car just came around and into the wall I went. I hate that Maryeve (Dufault) was involved in that, she was having a good day too.”
He added, “I’m not going to try and dwell on Michigan. There’s still a long way to go this season, we just have to bounce back next weekend at Winchester. I’ve never been there, but I like the short tracks in ARCA, so hopefully we can rebound for everyone at Federated Auto Parts, Cherry Hill Classic Cars and Ken Schrader Racing.”
With Hessert’s 29th place finish, he slipped from seventh to eighth in the championship standings 100 markers behind Tim George Jr.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is a return to Winchester (Ind.) Speedway for the running of the Winchester ARCA 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com http://www.tomhessert.com/ .