(CLERMONT, Ind. - July 25, 2012) - It’s a big weekend in the State of Indiana. With the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tackling the glamorous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will be just a few miles away competing at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the running of the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 presented by Federated Car Care Friday night.
For Cherry Hill, New Jersey native Tom Hessert III, the Friday night fight under the lights at Lucas Oil Raceway provides an opportunity to shine and put a stretch of bad races behind him and focus on having a good run in the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala.
Hessert, a long-time ARCA Racing Series veteran will be the first to tell you that he enjoys short track racing. From Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway, Salem (Ind.) Speedway, Toledo Speedway, Elko (Minn.) Speedway and Iowa Speedway, Hessert’s raced at them all for Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) this season. With three top-fives and six top-10s added to his resume in 2012, the likable driver is determined to spice up the competition and put his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Impala in the hunt for a victory in ARCA’s 12th race of the season.
“I’m ready for this weekend,” said Hessert. “I always enjoy some good short track racing. In ARCA, the competition is always fierce and you can never count anything or anyone out until the end. Overall, the short tracks have been our strengths this season for the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet, so I’m hoping we can go to Lucas Oil Raceway and improve on what we delivered there last year.”
Rewinding back to a year ago, ARCA’s return to the .686-mile oval in nearly two and a half decades, Hessert was able to showcase his short track skills by maneuvering his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet from his 17th place starting position before taking the checkered flag in fifth. Undoubtedly, having the experience of competing in last year’s contest – the 26-year old is hoping that will play into his favor.
“You definitely need to find the balance between rolling through the center well but still keep your forward drive off,” Hessert explained. “Lucas Oil Raceway is a very unique place and has a different level of grip. That showed between the test and the race last year. The track is very sensitive to weather, so we’ll have to bear that in mind as we’re adjusting our car throughout the day because we’ll be practicing and qualifying during the day, but the race will conclude under the lights. Everyone on this KSR team is prepared for whatever we may be faced with. I love racing there and can’t wait to get back.”
An extra incentive for Hessert this weekend is the presence of his marketing partner Federated Auto Parts, whose Federated Car Care division will serve as the presenting sponsor for Friday night’s rumble.
“It’s truly been a blessing to work with the folks at Federated Auto Parts and their divisions,” Hessert continued. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to meet all of the corporate representatives and a lot of their cliental. I know we’re going to have some representatives in the grandstands on Friday night, so hopefully with their cheers and chats, we can reward them with a deserving finish.”
The Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 by Federated Car Care (200 laps / 137 miles) is the 13th of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The ninth ARCA race at LOR is a one-day show. Practice begins Friday, July 27 with a forty-five practice session planned from 1:35 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. A final practice is scheduled from 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. The event will take the green flag under the lights shortly after 9:00 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 (Eastern).
Entering Indianapolis, Hessert has 94 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 22 top-fives and 49 top-10s.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
Hessert has joined the Twitter crave. Follow and connect with him @TomHessert.