DOUBLE HEADER WEEKEND FOR HESSERT PRODUCES TWO TOP-20 FINISHES Concord, NC (09/09/09) -- Labor Day weekend was filled with twice the excitement for Tom Hessert, driver of the No. 20 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Ford, as the ARCA RE/MAX Series pulled...
DOUBLE HEADER WEEKEND FOR HESSERT PRODUCES TWO TOP-20 FINISHES
Concord, NC (09/09/09) -- Labor Day weekend was filled with twice the excitement for Tom Hessert, driver of the No. 20 Cherry Hill Classic Cars Ford, as the ARCA RE/MAX Series pulled a double header, racing in both Toledo, Ohio and DuQuoin, Illinois over the three-day stretch. Hessert collected two top-20 finishes over the busy weekend, finishing 11th at Toledo Speedway on Friday and 18th Monday afternoon at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt mile.
Hessert, the 23-year-old Cherry Hill, NJ native returned to Toledo Speedway last weekend where he had three previous starts competing in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. After one scheduled practice session on Friday for the ARCA RE/MAX 200 presented by Federated & Belle Tire, Hessert was 12th fastest in the Cherry Hill Classic Cars machine. Hessert produced his fourth top-12 qualifying effort at the Toledo track, earning the 12th starting position with a fast lap of 109.283 mph (16.471 seconds) in the late afternoon qualifying session.
Through the beginning of the race, Hessert struggled with the Cherry Hill Classic Cars machine despite having a good car in practice. After making changes to the No. 20 Ford throughout the race, Hessert and the team were able to keep his successful streak intact at Toledo Speedway finishing 11th; his fourth consecutive finish of 11th or better on the Ohio short track.
"We thought we had a good car all through practice," said Hessert, "but weren't able to capitalize on that once the race started. We didn't have a terrible day, but we had hoped to finish inside the top ten. Overall it was a good day for the team. We communicated well during the race, worked hard to get the car where it needed to be and came home in 11th place."
The second event of the weekend, and 17th overall on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule, brought the field of competitors to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Ill., to do battle on the one-mile clay oval in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Southern Illinois 100. Hessert and the No. 20 Classic Cars team proved they were ready to get "down and dirty" in the holiday dirt track event, posting the fourth fastest speed in the early morning practice session. Just before noon, Hessert made a qualifying lap of 100.747 mph (35.733 seconds) earning the 18th position on the starting grid for the 100 lap event.
When the green flag waved, Hessert was on the charge making his way to the front of the field. Hessert was quickly gaining ground on the leaders when the car in front of him broke a gear, throwing oil down on the track and bringing out the caution for several damaged cars. Hessert brought the No.
20 Classic Cars Ford down pit lane where the crew worked quickly repairing the damage. Hessert lost two laps on pit road due to repairs, but came back out strong and continued to run well. The Classic Cars team would not be in position to win at the end, but proved to have a good car by running with the leaders until the end, finishing two laps down to the race leader in 18th.
"The No. 20 Classic Cars Ford was really good in practice," Hessert said. "We didn't get the car tightened up enough before qualifying so we didn't qualify as well as the car we had. At the start of race, we were passing and moving to the front. We were capable of running in the top three if things had gone better during the race."
With four events remaining on the ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule Hessert continues to hold steady in 9th in the overall driver points standings, 120 points behind 8th place.
Hessert and the No. 20 Cherry Hill Classic Cars team are set to make their RAB Racing debut in Hessert's home state for The South Jersey Building Trades 150 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ. Hessert has one start on the 2.25-mile paved road course in 2008 where he qualified 11th and ran with the leaders before running out of gas with six laps remaining.
"I ran the ARCA race at New Jersey last year," Hessert stated. "We ran out of gas with six laps to go and weren't able to go for the win there at the end. I'm excited to go back this year with RAB Racing and have a true road course car. The track has made a few changes that have made the racing better and I'm looking forward to having a chance to get my first win with RAB Racing on a track only 45 minutes from where I grew up."