(DUQUOIN, Ill. - September 3, 2012) - It's been a while - five years, in fact - since Ken Schrader Racing has visited Victory Lane at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Tom Hessert wants nothing more than to bring the team back, as the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards makes its annual stop at the track for today's Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care.
The Cherry Hill, N.J. native has raced at the mile oval five times, including last September with Ken Schrader Racing, but has only achieved a best finish of second in 2010 while driving for another team. Last year, it appeared that Hessert would be in contention for his second ARCA Racing Series triumph, but while running in the top five, his motor expired after just 21 laps, forcing a 26th-place finish.
Aiming to bounce back, the 26-year-old ARCA veteran is poised to put his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet back in contention and ultimately lead the team back to victory in his 15th start of the season.
"DuQuoin is just a great place to race and with a lot of history," said Hessert, a former USAC standout. "Ken Schrader Racing has won there in the past, consecutively back-to-back in 2006 and 2007, so I'd love to bring another track trophy back to the shop."
Thanks to his older days of racing on the dirt through his experience in USAC, Hessert is very familiar with the components it takes to master success on the dirt, no matter the type of race car. Still, Hessert must be able to overcome the misfortune he's experienced in his other four starts to have a shot at leading his team to a third checkered flag in southern Illinois.
"DuQuoin is one my favorite places to race," Hessert said. "We are always very quick there, but seem to have trouble for one reason or another during the race, so I don't have the finishes to show anything. Hopefully, we can change that on Monday. The racing groove is typically a bit wider and smoother than the other dirt track at Springfield, which ultimately makes for more side-by-side racing, although I heard Springfield's surface was excellent this year. Nonetheless, it should be a great show for the fans."
Hessert's primary sponsor, Federated Auto Parts, is a key component in making the race happen; Federated Car Care is the presenting sponsor for the day.
"Everyone at Federated Auto Parts, Federated Car Care, and all of their loyal divisions have been awesome to me and a blast to work with," said Hessert. "It's a great feeling to know that you have such constant support from a huge following of people. It's been longer than it should have been since a Federated Auto Parts car has been in Victory Lane, so we're going to try and end that on Monday afternoon."
The ARCA Racing Series garage will open at 8:30 a.m., with the driver, crew chief, and spotter meeting following at 11 a.m. On-track activity will begin with practice at noon and last for one hour.
Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will start at 2:15 p.m., and the 100-lap, 100-mile race is expected to go green at 4:30 p.m. All times are Central.
ARCARacing.com will feature live timing and scoring coverage throughout the day, and ARCA Racing Network hosts Charlie Krall and Tim Clagg will deliver a live audio call for the race on the site.
From Team Release