Chicagoland is 9th New Track in '08 for Tom Hessert (Concord, NC) May 4, 2008 -- Of the multitude of new challenges faced by a rookie on the ARCA RE/MAX Series circuit undoubtedly the biggest is learning the ropes on a new racetrack. And not...
Chicagoland is 9th New Track in '08 for Tom Hessert
(Concord, NC) May 4, 2008 -- Of the multitude of new challenges faced by a rookie on the ARCA RE/MAX Series circuit undoubtedly the biggest is learning the ropes on a new racetrack. And not just one racetrack, but several. For Tom Hessert III, the ARCA 200 in Joliet will be his 9th competition this season on unfamiliar turf, but his efforts on "virgin territory" in the #1 MAACO America's Body Shop Ford Fusion have been remarkably resilient. Andy Belmont Racing is bringing "Barney" to Chicago, a former Roush car that has posted 9th and 11th place finishes this season and is a favorite of Tom Hessert III.
"'Barney' seems to respond well to even the littlest changes and that's a sign of a really good racecar. We've changed our intermediate track program up since Dave Leiner came on board at Andy Belmont Racing and we're all excited to go to Chicago and be competitive. We did really well with this piece in Rockingham and Nashville so we expect similar results in Chicago. Rockingham & Nashville were new tracks to me then, so I don't expect that to play a factor in Chicago."
Aside from an expired engine in Pocono, Hessert has an average finish of 11.86 on his first foray on new tracks this season, seemingly excellent for a rookie in this difficult racing series. With only five races left to contest in 2008, the Andy Belmont Racing team stands 6th place in championship points and is working very hard to solidify that position.
"Since I've became involved in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 1995, this year has been the stiffest competition I've ever seen," said crew chief and driver coach Andy Belmont. "This year we have seen the most well-funded teams, the most Cup level support, the most talented drivers- there is no area that is not the best-ever in this racing series. To have our team stand 6th in points with five races to go is a great testament to our talent in the shop, on pit road and behind the wheel. We've had a couple of failures that have hurt us points-wise, but Tom is very smart in how he races. We're able to move forward and improve our cars because we're not bringing them home in a bushel basket."
"The competition this year in this ARCA RE/MAX Series is the hardest racing I've ever done," said Hessert. "The guys that are just as inexperienced as me on these new tracks are tough everywhere. There is such a diverse schedule of racetracks and you wouldn't think that the same guys are up front on every level of track but they are. This competition makes everyone elevate their programs even more. "
Tom Hessert III has personal reasons to work towards a good Chicago outing as well. "We've got lots of family here in the Chicago area and I'll have lots of relatives here at the track, including my 93 year-old aunt. Keep your eyes out- we might have her changing tires or something," laughed Hessert.