Rockingham II: Tom Hessert race report

SOPHOMORE SEASON PROVES SUCCESSFUL FOR HESSERT AT RAB RACING CONCORD, N.C. (10/12/09) - The ARCA RE/MAX Series rounded out the final race of the regular season Sunday afternoon at Rockingham Speedway. Sophomore driver Tom Hessert battled to a ...

SOPHOMORE SEASON PROVES SUCCESSFUL FOR HESSERT AT RAB RACING

CONCORD, N.C. (10/12/09) - The ARCA RE/MAX Series rounded out the final race of the regular season Sunday afternoon at Rockingham Speedway. Sophomore driver Tom Hessert battled to a 16th-place finish in the No. 20 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Ford for RAB Racing. Hessert's fourth consecutive top-20 finish boosted the Cherry Hill, N.J. native one position in the overall driver point standings to finish the season in eighth for the second time in two years.

Championship weekend at the historic one-mile track known as "The Rock" began Saturday morning with practice and an afternoon qualifying session. Hessert, in the blue and white Cherry Hills Classic Cars Ford, ended up 29th in practice before qualifying 27th with a lap of 138.894 m.p.h. (25.919 seconds).

With gray skies hanging overhead, the ARCA RE/MAX American 200 got underway with Hessert taking the green flag from an inside row mid-way through the field. The 41 competitors spread out over the early laps, racing caution free until lap 70. Hessert was scored 20th when he brought the No. 20 Classic Cards Ford down pit lane for the first pit stop on lap 73. The Cheery Hill Classic Cars crew worked quickly to change all four tires, top-off fuel and make a track bar adjustment to improve handling. Hessert would restart 20th on lap 76.

A second stretch of green flag racing came, bringing the field to the halfway point. At lap 116, while continuing to run 20th, Hessert took advantage of another opportunity for adjustments, receiving new tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment.

Twenty-three year-old Hessert held steady through the remaining 75 laps of the 200 lap race and was able to avoid being collected in several late race cautions, including a red flag which halted the field with 40 laps remaining. Hessert gained three positions over the closing laps to finish 16th in the 21st and final race on the ARCA RE/MAX schedule. Hessert moved to eighth place in the overall driver point standings with 4495 points.

"It wasn't as great a finish as we had hoped for in the final race of the season, "Hessert stated after the race. "We didn't qualify as well as I'd hoped, which left a lot of ground to make up over the course of the race. The guys hung in there and we made some changes to the car throughout the race and were able to come home with a decent finish."

Hessert completed his second full-year of ARCA RE/MAX racing with one top-five, eight top-10, and 18 top-25 finishes. He earned the pole award at Talladega Superspeedway and brought home his best 2009 finish of third at the Toledo short track in May.

"I'm really proud the way the RAB Racing team and I have performed the last half of the season," Hessert said. "I wish we still had a few more races to try and get that first win, but we'll just have to wait until next year."

With the racing season over for now, Hessert and RAB Racing will attend their next event, the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Championship Award Banquet on Saturday, December 5th, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky.

-credit: rabr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Tom Hessert