Engine Failure Halts Hessert, ABR In Pocono LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 10, 2008) - - SunTrust Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Tom Hessert's ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at Pocono Raceway didn't go as planned in Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200 at the ...
Engine Failure Halts Hessert, ABR In Pocono
LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 10, 2008) - - SunTrust Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Tom Hessert's ARCA RE/MAX Series debut at Pocono Raceway didn't go as planned in Saturday's Pocono ARCA 200 at the tricky 2.5-mile triangle.
Hessert, the impressive freshman headed into the weekend on the heels of a top-10 finish in his debut at Toledo Speedway last month. The New Jersey native was hoping to make it two-for-two and continue his charge in the standings. Unfortunately, the team's trip to the Pocono Mountains facility offered less than a memorable experience.
Piloting the automobile nicknamed "Nina", the Andy Belmont Racing (ABR) was hoping that the former Roush-Fenway Racing automobile would bring Hessert his fourth top-10 finish of the season in only his 10th career ARCA start.
Heading into Friday's lone practice session, the ABR team was focused on getting a comfortable setup for Hessert while looking ahead towards ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying and the eighth race on the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series. To the team's disadvantage, Hessert's No. 1 Maaco America's Bodyshop Ford Fusion continued to "bottom out" around the track forcing a 16th place effort with a time of 55.303 seconds at 162.740 MPH.
"We're working on correcting the issue," stated Hessert following the final practice session. "The crew never gives up and they are determined to get the problem fixed and putting our Maaco America's Bodyshop Ford Fusion in the top-10."
In ARCA SIM Factory pole qualifying, Hessert mounted a time of 55.822 seconds or 161.227 MPH. The time was a little slower than practice but most of the teams faced the same circumstance. During post-qualifying inspection, the team noted a problem with a spring which forced the Mooresville, North Carolina operation to make a change that would send the former USAC driver to the rear of the field for Saturday's event.
38 ARCA RE/MAX Series took the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. with Hessert on the move to get to the front. Quickly and calmly, the No. 1 Ford found itself in the top-20 when the first caution flag waived on lap two.
Remaining quiet on the radio, Hessert wasted no time picking off spots on the restart and had moved into the top-15 by lap 20.
While Hessert was hovering in the top-20 despite making an early race pit stop, Hessert's charge to the front would be doomed on lap 48 when the motor seized underneath the hood forcing the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native to take his automobile to the garage.
The team would be credited with a 30th place finish, their worst finish of the 2008 season.
"The motor blew," Hessert explained. "Not 100 percent what exactly happened but it was bad enough to take us out from competition. We had a tough weekend at Pocono but as a team we communicated and worked through the issues. We'll be better when we come back in August. I hate it for our sponsors and guests. This was a big race for all of us; I just wish we could have had a better finish. Off to Michigan."
Exiting Pocono, Hessert, in Jennifer Belmont owned Ford Fusions controls fifth in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series championship standings just 135 markers from the lead.