Ponoco II: Tom Hessert race report

PIT STRATEGY KEY TO A CAREER FIRST TOP-10 FOR HESSERT AT POCONO RACEWAY Pocono, PA (8/3/09) -- A solid pit strategy and perseverance were the key components to Tom Hessert's sixth-place finish in Saturday's Pennsylvania ARCA 200 at Pocono...

PIT STRATEGY KEY TO A CAREER FIRST TOP-10 FOR HESSERT AT POCONO RACEWAY

Pocono, PA (8/3/09) -- A solid pit strategy and perseverance were the key components to Tom Hessert's sixth-place finish in Saturday's Pennsylvania ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. Not only did the sophomore racer score his third consecutive top-10, but he also posted his career first top-10 at the "tricky triangle".

Hessert's hard-charging efforts allowed the No. 09 team to gain on 8th place Patrick Sheltra in the season-long championship point standings. The 23-year-old now sits just 35 markers behind 8th place with 2520 points.

Heavy showers over the Pocono's region halted Friday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Menards Pole Qualifying. The starting grid for Saturday's 80-lap shootout would be set based on current car owner points and the No. 09 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Ford would start 28th.

Rolling off the starting grid on the outside of row 14 the Cherry Hill, NJ native wasted no time making a charge to the front of the field. However, on lap 18 the yellow flag would be displayed and crew chief Keith Hinkein would put his pit strategy into full swing and bring the blue and white machine down pit road with just one other car, Frank Kimmel, for four fresh Hoosier tires and fuel. The No. 09 machine would restart 21st.

A long green flag run would come into effect as Hessert worked his way through the 43-car field. Lead-lap cars began to pit for fuel and the Cherry Hill Classic Cars team would be able to stay out due to pitting on lap 18. When the afternoon's second caution flag was displayed at lap 39 Hessert would be scored in the top-10.

Hinkein would bring the No. 09 machine down pit road for the final stop of the afternoon. Four tires, fuel, an air pressure and trackbar adjustment were in order. Hessert would return to the 2.5-mile triangle 10th.

Hessert would make a final charge forward before settling in for his career best finish of sixth following a green-white-checker finish at Pocono Raceway. Justin Lofton would go on to earn his second consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series victory.

"Sixth was a great finish for the Cherry Hill Classic Cars team," stated Hessert. "In my first three ARCA RE/MAX Series starts at Pocono I have never had a top-30. It was a great confidence builder for me and proves what a great team I have behind me."

"The team did a great job all weekend after starting 28th", continued Hessert. "Excellent pit strategy got us track position, but the car was just spot on all day."

Next up for the No. 09 Cherry Hill Classic Cars team is the Allen Crowe 100 at Illinois State Fairgrounds on August 23rd. Hessert hopes to improve on his seventh place finish from 2008 at the 1-mile clay oval.

"Next up is Springfield and I can't wait to get back on the dirt", said Hessert. "I had a solid finish there last year and I can't wait to get back, have some fun and bring home a solid finish for everyone at RAB Racing."

-credit: rabr

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Series ARCA
Drivers Tom Hessert , Justin Lofton , Patrick Sheltra