(LONG POND, Pa. - June 6, 2012) - On the heels of his third straight top-five performance last Saturday night at Elko Speedway in Minnesota, Tom Hessert isn’t fazed by the new surroundings he and his Ken Schrader Racing team will face when the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards enters Pocono Raceway for Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200.
Even with its new look which includes a complete repavement of the 2.5-mile racetrack, the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native is hoping that veteran experience will pay off behind the wheel of the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala.
“This weekend’s race is going to be interesting, there’s no hiding that,” said Hessert, who enters the seventh race of the season just 10 points from the points lead retained by Brennan Poole. “It’s a brand new surface and it has a lot of speed. The tapered spacer could make it tough but it will be the same for all of us, so only time will tell. Everyone’s in the dark until the first practice is over with.”
The old triangular Pocono which showcased multiple grooves for the cars to fan out along the track’s 3,740 feet frontstretch is indeed practical for Saturday’s anticipated thriller but the 26-year old is optimistic about the rest of the track.
“I think the new surface and high grip could make it one groove but the place is so wide and with so much practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it should get racy and hopefully we’ll see the old characteristics of Pocono return. There’s just a lot of unknowns, but I think that’s just part of the excitement going there this weekend.”
Six races complete, Hessert and his Donnie Richeson led team have delivered strong results. From Daytona to Elko, the team has shown speed, patience and thus far has been on the plus side of the momentum train which has yielded three top-fives and five top-10s. Heading to Pocono, they plan to keep their surge alive.
“I’m really happy with the way our Federated Auto Parts cars are running,” sounded Hessert. “Donnie and the guys are really busting their chops to give me good pieces week in and week out and it’s showing on the race track with our results. We’re inching closer to a win and I think we’re going to be able to pull it off in ARCA’s 60th anniversary season, it’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when.”
Entering Pocono, Hessert has 89 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 22 top-fives and 48 top-10s.
The Pocono ARCA 200 (80 laps / 200 miles) is the seventh of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The 54th ARCA race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is a two-day show. Practice begins Friday, June 8 with a hour and fifty minute practice session planned from 10:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 2:05 p.m. A final fifty minute “happy hour” practice is scheduled from 5:10 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. The event will take the green flag Saturday, June 9 shortly after 1:30 p.m. The race will be televised on SPEED with a scheduled airing launch of 2:30 p.m. that afternoon. Additional coverage including timing and scoring available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com. All times are local (Eastern).
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
Hessert has joined the Twitter crave. Follow and connect with him @TomHessert.