Kentucky II: Tom Hessert preview

Tom Hessert & ABR Return To Kentucky Seeking Revenge SPARTA, Kentucky (July 16, 2008) - - Still feeling refreshed after a solid top-10 finish in the most recent ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) event at Cayuga Motor Speedway, SunTrust Rookie-of-the-Year...

Tom Hessert & ABR Return To Kentucky Seeking Revenge

SPARTA, Kentucky (July 16, 2008) - - Still feeling refreshed after a solid top-10 finish in the most recent ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) event at Cayuga Motor Speedway, SunTrust Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Tom Hessert returns to Kentucky Speedway this weekend looking for revenge in the Kentucky ARCA RE/MAX 150.

In Hessert's first trip to the 1.5-mile speedway in May, Hessert showed maturity and talent by rising up from his 19th place qualifying effort to run in the top-five in the final stages of the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 only to fall victim to what can only be described as a weird ending to the sixth event of the season. As the leaders were set to go, a late race caution would send the field into overtime which would prove to be disastrous. Many teams would run out of fuel and be forced to battle their way back through the field. Hessert ran out of gas while running third coming to the restart in turn three, forcing the New Jersey native to coast to pit road during overtime and settle for 14th.

"I learned a lot in my first race at Kentucky Speedway," said Hessert, in his freshman season of ARCA RE/MAX Series competition. "I learned what to do and what not to do. I strongly believe what we learned in May we can adapt to the race this weekend."

In order to back up that statement, Andy Belmont Racing (ABR) recently participated in the open-test at Kentucky Speedway with the team pleased overall with the results. "The test went real well," added Hessert. "This is the same car that we raced with in May but we wanted to try a couple different setups to see if we can't get our Maaco America's Bodyshop-Boudreaux's Butt Paste Ford Fusion just a little better."

Indeed, Andy Belmont Racing chassis No. 69 is the car of choice for the 11th event of the season. This is the same piece that Hessert steered at Kansas Speedway (13th place finish) and most recently its sister facility, Kentucky Speedway in May.

"Every time we race this car we keep getting better with it and we're expecting the same this weekend. We have a baseline setup to start practice with, then we'll make some adjustments and hope we nail something that we can race competitively with for Friday night."

Another reason that Hessert is feeling extra confident heading into Kentucky this weekend is the recent addition of David Leiner as crew chief on the No. 1 Maaco America's Bodyshop Ford Fusion.

"I've learned a lot from David very quickly," commented Hessert, who has spent time competing in the USAR Hooter's Pro Cup Series when not racing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. "Cayuga was our first race together. We qualified strong, ran exceptionally well during the race and led laps. We're looking to make it back-to-back performances Friday night."

Officially crossing the half-way mark in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule, Hessert is overall satisfied with the performance of his team. However, he admits he knows there is still more on the table.

"We've made some great strides this season, but we're going to try and be even better in the final 10 races. I'm really proud of everyone on the Andy Belmont Racing team for their never-give-up attitude and their determination to run up front on a weekly basis. We are capable of winning races and that's a goal for the second half."

Entering Kentucky, Hessert, in Jennifer Belmont owned Ford Fusions controls seventh in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship standings just 370 markers from the lead. In 10 this season, Hessert has claimed four top-10 finishes including a very stout sixth place run in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway followed by top-10 performances at Rockingham Speedway, Toledo Speedway and Cayuga Motor Speedway respectively. He has controlled the ARCA field twice for 28 laps. The former USAC star will make his 13th career ARCA start Friday night.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste will join Hessert in his second trip to Kentucky Speedway as a major associate sponsor in this weekend's event.

The Kentucky ARCA RE/MAX 150 (150 miles/100 laps) is the 11th of 21 events on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. The 17th ARCA race at Kentucky Speedway is a one-day show. Practice begins Friday July 18 with a two hour and fifteen minute practice session planned from 11:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m. ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. with live television coverage on SPEED. The field will take the green flag later that evening shortly after 8:00 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional race coverage including live timing and scoring available online at arcaracing.com. All times are local.

-credit; AndyBelmont.com

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Series ARCA
Drivers Andy Belmont , Tom Hessert