(NEWTON, Iowa - July 11, 2012) - For some, Friday the 13th ignites superstitions to their fullest potential, but for Tom Hessert, it proposes the scenario and opportunity to roar his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet into Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway in the running of the Prairie Meadows 200.
Superstitious or not, Hessert returns to the track that brought him his first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory in 2010. Two years later, the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native is still in search for another victory but leans on the .875-mile paved oval as the right place to take Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) back to victory lane as well.
Rewinding back to July 10, 2010 – Hessert qualified on the outside pole before thrusting his race car into the lead virtually putting a whooping on the field by controlling the race for 126 of the events 200 laps. Last season, the 26-year old had high hopes for of backing up the victory but instead had to swallow one of his 13 top-10 finishes of the year after netting eighth at the finish line.
This weekend though, Hessert is reminded that the 11th race of the season will be run under the lights – the same conditions that propelled the former NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series driver to his inaugural ARCA triumph and that could be bad news for the rest of the competitors.
“Iowa Speedway is a special place for me for obvious reasons,” Hessert remarked. “You never forget the place of your first victory – no matter what series it comes in. Since then though, we’ve been doing everything in power to put ourselves back in contention for another win. We’ve come close, real close but could never seal the deal. We’ll be racing on Friday night under similar race conditions from 2010, so hopefully the game plan that Donnie (Richeson, crew chief) and I will pay off big.”
When asked about his intuition of possibly winning twice in his fifth try at Iowa Speedway, Hessert commented, “Sometimes, the second victory is almost as big as the first. I can’t tell you how many races we’ve been in contention for over the last two years and something goes wrong and keeps it from becoming a reality. A couple weeks ago, we were sitting pretty and ready to take home the checkered flag at New Jersey but some overaggressive driving from other competitors kept that from happening.”
He continued, “New Jersey’s outcome was so frustrating – because we had such a great No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. Victory should have been ours – but again it was one of those things where obstacles out of control prevented that from happening. Friday night marks the start of the second-half of the season – so it’s no holds bar as far as we’re concerned and we feel like we’re coming with a setup similar to what we had in 2010, so that could spell danger for the rest of the competition.”
After 10 races, Hessert occupies sixth in the championship standings and has posted three top-fives and six top-10 finishes thus far in 2012.
Entering Iowa, Hessert has 93 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 22 top-fives and 49 top-10s.
The Prairie Meadows 200 (200 laps / 175 miles) is the 11th of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The seventh ARCA race at the Rusty Wallace-designed racetrack is a one day show. Practice begins Friday, July 13 with an hour and a half session planned from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. A final practice is scheduled from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. The event will take the green flag under the lights shortly after 8:00 p.m. The race will be televised live on SPEED with additional coverage including timing and scoring will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com. All times are local (Central).
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.