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WNY Driver of the Week: A.J. Hessler

Featured Driver of the Week: A.J. Hessler

Driver: A.J. Hessler

Age: 45

Hometown: Kenmore

Division: NYPA Midgets/Traveling Series

Lowdown: Hessler is the son of the late longtime TQ official, car owner, driver and builder, Art Hessler. The elder Hessler crewed for the late driver Jim Hurtubise in the 1959 and 1960 Indy 500. A.J. is the brother of veteran TQ Midget scorer Liz Hessler. A.J. began his driving career in the TQ Midgets at age 19 at Lancaster Speedway in a car purchased from TQ Midget veteran Bing Metz. Hessler has driven TQ Midgets ever since. After concentrating his efforts the first few seasons exclusively at Lancaster and Holland, he expanded his driving footprint into Canada with the Can-Am Midget Club. In 1998 he joined the newly formed and locally based Casey's TQ Midget Series, which now is the NYPA Midget Association. In 2018, Hessler is driving a TQ Midget he acquired in the off-season from recently retired Charlie DiRosa. Hessler also fields a second TQ Midget for other drivers on occasion, the No. 01 entry that he co-owns with Jim Smith. Hessler campaigns in indoor TQ Midget competition in the winter months.

Accomplishments: Hessler has heat wins and six career A-Main feature wins in Casey's/NYPA competition. He is the TQ Midget victor at Lancaster's 2004 U.S. Open and was named that same year, Lancaster's Most Improved TQ Midget Driver. Also has won a few dash-type events over the years. Hessler's team is currently unsponsored.

Favorite food: Chicken wings

Favorite music: Heavy metal rock group Metallica

Hobbies: Playing ice hockey and golf


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