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Hessert Rebounds to Finish 12th at Daytona in 99th Career Start

Hessert Rebounds to Finish 12th at Daytona in 99th Career Start

by February 19, 2013 0 comments

(98506569_crop_650x440DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) – As Tom Hessert opened his 6th season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, he was anticipating solid results in his return to Cunningham Motorsports.  After testing at Daytona International Speedway in December and Talladega Superspeedway a few weeks ago, Hessert and crew chief Paul Andrews had high expectations.

With rain imminent, the teams took to the 2.5 mile track for practice on Thursday.  What was originally scheduled for a 4 hour session was cut short by rain after an hour and 20 minutes.  Hessert made a handful of 2 lap runs, posting the 17th speed on the charts.  Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell was the lone event on the schedule Friday, with Hessert qualifying in the 10th spot.

Hessert posted the 4th quickest speed in the 45 minute final practice session for the Lucas Oil 200 presented by MAVTV American Real.  An upbeat Hessert said, “We will be good in the race. Even though it will be tough to pass, we have a great car to take to the front, if we can find a good drafting partner.”

The 50th ARCA Racing Series race at the historic Daytona track took the green flag with Hessert starting in the 10th spot.  On lap 2 Tom radioed Andrews that he had a tire going down.  As Hessert limped back to the pits, he had visions of the tire exploding apart and destroying his Barbera’s Autoland Dodge.  As lady luck would have it, Hessert made it back to the pit crew’s attention, where they changed all 4 tires and filled the #77 with Sunoco fuel.  In this process of making it slowly back to the pits and being in the pits for the tire change, Hessert lost a lap to the leaders.  As his uphill battle on the remaining 77 laps began, Tom found himself in 36th.  As the caution came to the track for a blown motor, Hessert came in for fuel only, restarting 36th on lap 17.  On lap 19 a wild wreck at the start/finish line took out many cars in the middle pack, allowing Hessert to earn the Aaron’s “lucky dog” award, getting back on the lead lap.

Hessert fell in line in 30th as the green flag flew again.  After discussing with crew chief Andrews and spotter, Richard Coleman, Hessert decided it was “go time”.  Three laps later he had picked up 4 spots, to 26th and continued to move forward.  By halfway he was in 12th.  He remained 10th-13th, as he couldn’t find anyone to draft with to continue his climb.  After finishing 12th, Hessert commented, “From where our day started out, with the cut tire, I’m pleased to have come back to finish 12th.  With that being said, our car was very good and it was a shame that we were unable to showcase that.  With the rules package we have, it’s very difficult to pass, which was very frustrating…because once we got to the second pack we were unable to advance our position.  All in all, it was a decent start to the season and I can’t thank Paul and the team enough for working hard and bringing us a great car.”

Next up for Hessert and the Cunningham team is ARCA’s 2nd visit to Mobile International Speedway on Saturday, March 9.   The ARCA Mobile 200 will be Hessert’s 100th ARCA Series start.  Two 45-minute practice sessions are scheduled on Friday at 3:30 and 5:15 EST.  Qualifying will follow at 8:00 EST.  The 200 lap event on the .5 mile track in Irvington, AL has a start time of 3:00 EST.

Press Release
Press Release, source information and photo credits are located at the bottom of the article.

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