Millville: Tom Hessert race report

HESSERT HUSTLES TO FIRST TOP-10 FINISH AT HIS HOME TRACK Millville, NJ (09/14/09) -- RAB Racing's Tom Hessert took his home track by storm this weekend as he competed in The South Jersey Building Trades 150 at Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey...

HESSERT HUSTLES TO FIRST TOP-10 FINISH AT HIS HOME TRACK

Millville, NJ (09/14/09) -- RAB Racing's Tom Hessert took his home track by storm this weekend as he competed in The South Jersey Building Trades 150 at Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park finishing 8th in the No. 20 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Ford on Sunday afternoon in front of friends and family. The finish was the first top-10 for Hessert at his home track.

The Cherry Hill, NJ native arrived Saturday morning for his second chance at an ARCA RE/MAX victory on the 14-turn, 2.25-mile paved road course just 45 minutes from where he grew up. Hessert was ninth fastest in both practice sessions.

Menards Pole Qualifying for the 150-mile event began at 4:30 p.m. as Hessert and the remaining 34 qualifiers took time around the track. Hessert posted a fast lap of 93.117 M.P.H. (86.981 seconds) in the No. 20 Cherry Hills Classic Cars Ford which was good enough for 11th on the starting grid. After qualifying, Hessert would have to wait until Sunday afternoon for racing action to get underway.

As the clouds rolled out and fans rolled in, the green flag dropped on the field for 67 laps of racing action. Hessert easily settled into the top-10 for the first part of the race, and in a somewhat rare occurrence in road course racing, the field ran under long green flag conditions after the start of the race.

On lap 31, Hessert brought the No. 20 Cherry Hill Classic Cars machine down pit lane for the first stop of the day. Hessert was sitting on pit road as the caution came out, putting the No. 20 down a lap to the leaders. Crew Chief Wayne Carroll and the Classic Cars team worked throughout the race to adjust their race strategy but were unable to make up the lap due to green flag runs. Hessert went on to finish 8th, a career best on his home track.

"We had a really good point's day and came home with a top-10 finish despite some unfortunate circumstances in qualifying," Hessert began. "There were some pretty long green flag runs that I don't think most people really expected. We had a decent car but we weren't able to get that lap back. If circumstances had been different we could've finished a few positions higher. It was a good showing for me and it was really nice to race so close to home. The Classic Cars Racing team did a great job getting the car ready and we went out and passed a lot of cars, which was fun and unusual at a road race."

After 17 races on the ARCA RE/MAX schedule, Hessert sits 10th in the driver standings, only five points behind ninth place and 120 points out of eighth. Next, Hessert will compete on the .555-mile paved short track of Salem Speedway where he has three previous starts with his best finish of sixth coming in the spring race earlier this year.

"Salem is awesome," Hessert exclaimed. "It's one of my favorite tracks and I have always run really well there. RAB Racing has a good record there as well so we definitely have a good shot to run up front and be a top-five contender."

The ARCA RE/MAX Series heads to the Salem Speedway short track in Salem, IN for the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic 200 on Saturday night, September 19th.

-credit: rabr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Tom Hessert