TJ Hartman Racing News July 11, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ and his Wesmar Powered Maxim at Speed

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: Back On Track!                            

Puyallup, WA - July 10, 2011...

The Mid-Season Championship race at Grays Harbor Raceway is always a fan favorite, as an evening of racing is followed by a spectacular fireworks show to cap off the night.  The Puyallup Washington based team was the beneficiary of an abbreviated format in more ways than one, and the 19 year old driver took full advantage of the good fortune, ending the night with a 5th place run in the A-main event.

Struggling with a stumbling engine the past few weeks, the priority for this week became getting the issue resolved.  Fixing a problem that had so far eluded the team was compounded by this weeks main event only format.  There would not be an opportunity to find out if the issue had been fixed before it was time to race.  Luck came to the rescue in the way that three teams failed to show for the race, effectively placing the #19 in the 6 car dash.  TJ begins the night:  "We weren't even going to run this week because of the problem we've been having and the format.  We missed the first few races and I wasn't high enough in the points to be locked in the dash.  At the last minute we decided to go anyway, and then we got real lucky when some guys didn't show up.  I always want to race more cars, but we really needed that break to be in the dash and have a chance to see if what we did had fixed the problem before the main event."

Photo Courtesy of The Nicki Factor - Fireworks over GHR

Lining up 6th for the dash, TJ eased his mount into turn one to give himself some breathing room where he could work the throttle to verify that the changes made would pay off.  He continues:  "I just wanted to make sure I could get out of the throttle in the corner and back in it for a few laps without the engine stumbling.  We changed some things on the car this week, and one of them fixed the problem.  The engine ran great and we have to thank everyone who gave us ideas to look for the last couple of weeks, but mostly to Bob and Kelly (Wesmar Racing Engines) for pointing us in the direction that got it fixed.  We kind of learned a lesson out of this, so that's a good thing.  Our engine has been trouble free since we bought it, and we knew it must have been something on the car.  I'm just glad we got it figured out and the engine is running like it did before."

TJ lined up for the main event outside the third row, but a spinning car in the opening lap would negate the start.  Moving up a row, TJ got a good start, but misjudged the faster line of the track, and dropped back a position in the next set of turns, where he settled in for 30 straight green flag laps.  TJ talks about the race:  "I really did not think the top would be there, so I aimed for the bottom.  It worked good in the first corner, but when I got passed at the other end of the track I knew I had to get up there.  The track was pretty slick and there wasn't a lot to get ahold of so I just kind of eased my way up as the laps went on.  I wasn't in a position to really race anyone.  We all got kind of strung out until the end.  I was just a little too free to be running up there but it was the only line on the track so I just tried to keep the car under me and not make any mistakes."  

TJ held off a late race challenge to finish in the 5th position.  After the race concluded, the team enjoyed the fireworks show, reflected on the night, and prepared to greet the fans.  He concludes the night:  "I wish we would have tightened the car up a little more before the race like we were thinking, but we kind of backed out of doing it.  I'm just happy that the car is running good again, and I really feel good that the things we're thinking about for the setup are working out - even if we didn't make the adjustments to make it happen!"

Photo Courtesy of The Nicki Factor - TJ with his cousins' Gina & Angie after the race 

All forms of racing are exhilarating, but sprint car racing has to be seen in person to grasp what it is that the drivers can do in a race car.  TJ concludes the update:  "It was nice to run well in front of my cousins and friends.  Gina and Angie have never seen a race before, so it was cool to do well for them.  My friend Kaydren was down on the fence during the parade lap and that's always fun to see and know people are there cheering for you.  Jim was with us in the pits again, and Diana and Kailey were in the stands watching and that feels good.  It looks like we'll have a few weeks off, so that's disappointing, but at least we're not going to be spending the time wondering if we still have a problem with the car.  I had a good time, and my confidence is up, and I can't wait to get back to it."

The team wants to thank John Fletcher and Nicki Hartman for capturing the photos from the evening.  You can view more of them by clicking http://fletchermotorsports.smugmug.com/2011Racing-1. as well as see more on TJ's web site and Facebook site.  Be sure to keep up to date on the latest news by visiting the fan page or his web site at: www.TJHartmanRacing.com Instant race night messages are available by signing up via twitter at: www.twitter.com/tjhartman19 and thank you to everyone for tuning in and commenting. 

The TJ Hartman Racing Team is on a limited schedule this year, but we appreciate the full time support everyone continues to give us.  Without each of you, our fun-filled nights would not be possible.    

Next scheduled stop - Tires!                

Grays Harbor Raceway 7/9/11 Results:
Saturday:  Dash     Start: 6th    Finish: 6th
A-Main Start:  6th    Finish: 5th


TJ Hartman Racing
www.TJHartmanRacing.com