[media-credit name=”tomhessert.com” align=”alignright” width=”159″][/media-credit]MOBILE, Alabama (March 7, 2012) – – Off to his best start in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards in nearly three years, Tom Hessert III, often known in the garage as TH3 heads to Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway vying to build on his team’s top-10 performance at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last month.
Hessert, driving the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet for legendary Motorsports figure Ken Schrader knocked out a 10th place finish in the season-opening ARCA event at Daytona but now the Cherry Hill, New Jersey native admits that real start of the season can officially begin with Saturday afternoon’s Mobile ARCA 200.
“In a way, I’m glad that Daytona is over with, because we’re going back racing where a lot of the elements that a team can handle come into play,” offered Hessert. “Believe me, we are thankful to go to a place like Daytona – but it’s nice to move on and head to a track like Mobile – where I feel the show is going to be spectacular.”
Hessert’s thoughts on Saturday’s second race of the season have justification. Last week, the Ken Schrader Racing (KSR) team led by veteran crew chief Donnie Richeson participated in a private test session at the half-mile oval where the team left the Southern Alabama racetrack with confidence.
“The test went real well,” sounded the 25-year old. “As a team, we felt it was important to go and test because we knew that this race would have some big players. Cale (Gale), Bubba (Pollard) and Chase (Elliott) – this is their stomping grounds, so we went to test to see if we can’t get us an early weekend advantage. From the test, the guys took our No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet back to the shop and made some tweaks, so I think we’ll be in good shape when practice begins on Friday afternoon.”
The former NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car driver wasn’t afraid to talk about what type of race everyone can expect on Saturday afternoon. “I think it’s going to be one of the best shows of the season, honestly,” the ARCA veteran said. “The track is incredibly unique but very fast, so those two elements alone together usually means the grandstands will be packed. It’s a good thing too – because it’s a great thing for the ARCA Racing Series to be heading to a new short track venue.”
If you’re also keeping track, it’s fair to note that Hessert and his KSR team really showed immense strength in there short track, especially in last October’s season finale at Toledo Speedway where Hessert bolted to second career Menards pole, led a ton of laps and finished inside the top-five.
“I think one of our strongest suites as a team last year was on the short tracks and that focus continues for 2012,” Hessert offered. “We’re not bringing the same car we took to Toledo Speedway last fall, but we’re extremely confident in the chassis that we are bringing to Mobile this weekend. It’s a piece that we ran at a lot of the smaller tracks last year and there isn’t a question in my mind that with its capabilities and the calls from the KSR team, we’ll be in the hunt for the win on Saturday afternoon.”
While the chase for the ARCA championship marches on this weekend, Hessert who currently occupies 11th in the championship standings, just a mere five points from climbing into the top-10, TH3 knows that another good showing this weekend can catapult the Federated Auto Parts Racing team easily into the top-five.
“I know a lot of the guys that went to Daytona aren’t showing up in Mobile, so that’s our gain. But, in order to make that leap in the points, we have to keep the fenders on our No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet to the checkered flag. That’s exactly what I plan to do.”
Entering Mobile, Hessert has 84 career ARCA Racing Series starts. In those outings, he has maneuvered two poles, one win, 19 top-fives and 44 top-10s.
The Mobile ARCA 200 (200 laps / 100 miles) is the second of 20 events on the 2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. The first ARCA race held at MIS is a two-day show. Practice begins Friday, March 9 with a three and a half hour practice session planned from 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Menards pole qualifying presented by Ansell is set for later in the day at 7:00 p.m. An on-track autograph session has been etched in on race day, Saturday, March 10 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. The event will take the green flag shortly after 2:00 p.m. The race will not be televised on SPEED but additional race coverage including live timing and scoring will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com. All times are local.
For more on Tom Hessert III, please visit tomhessert.com.
Hessert has joined the Twitter crave. Follow and connect with him @TomHessert.