New Jersey A Perfect Opportunity for Tom Hessert
After being snakebitten in the last two ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards races, Tom Hessert and his Ken Schrader Racing team are aiming for redemption in Sunday's race, part of the All-American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The lone road course event of the season may be the exact medicine that the veteran pair needs to put what has been a relatively strong season back on the right path and see the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet back at the front.
Hessert's name has been tossed around as "one to watch" this weekend. The Hessert family name has been historical for road racing success and with the 26-year old's success turning lefts and rights not only in ARCA, but in the NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series as well, the chances of celebrating his second career ARCA victory may not be too far off on the horizon.
If Hessert were to pull off the feat and score his first ARCA win with Ken Schrader Racing and crew chief Donnie Richeson, the Cherry Hill, N.J. native won't have to look far for family and friends to join in the celebration. The 10th race in ARCA's 60th Anniversary Season is nestled just about an hour from Hessert's hometown.
"It's going to be a fun weekend, and I just hope we have a good finish that makes it all even better," said Hessert. "I always love competing at New Jersey and it's close to home, so all the friends and family flock to the race track and that's important to me. I enjoy their company and support and it's nice to have a cheering section for a race like this.
"There's no hiding that Michigan and Winchester were hard on us. We had such a strong start to the year and two races where we had no control of the outcome have forced us to come together as a team and prove that we're ready to fight our way back into the spotlight. New Jersey's a perfect place to do that. There's going to be competition, but I think with our team's attitude and desire we should have a really strong weekend."
Competing on a tour that consists of speedways, short tracks, dirt tracks, and a road course, Hessert talked about how having a track like New Jersey Motorsports Park on the schedule is crucial to ARCA's platform.
"ARCA spreads its wings as one of the most diversified racing tours in the United States and it truly is," said Hessert. "There isn't anywhere else where you can take a stock car and go race places like Daytona, Salem, Michigan, then shift over to a tricky road course like New Jersey and then later in the year sling on the dirt at Springfield and DuQuoin. It's a series that's a lot of fun to compete in and a lot of people take notice of that. The road course races have been exciting in the past and I don't expect Sunday's race to be any different."
The avid racer will make his fifth start in Millville, N.J. this weekend in search for his third consecutive top-five run and fourth top-10 effort overall.
"No doubt about it, New Jersey is a place - if everything goes as it should for us - to recover some of the points we've lost in the last two races. I have a feeling we'll have a good enough No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet to contend for victory, but if we can also walk away with a good points day, I'll be happy with that too."
ARCA Racing Series teams will practice twice Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt Raceway. Practices are scheduled from 11:20 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and 1:40 to 2:40 on Saturday, with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 4:30.
The 67-lap, 150-mile race - the fifth for ARCA on the New Jersey course - will start at 1 p.m. Sunday, with live timing and scoring and live audio coverage presented by the ARCA Racing Network available at ARCARacing.com. The ARCA event is one of several races scheduled over New Jersey's All-American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation.