TJ Hartman Racing News August 21, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of The Nicki Factor - The #19 at the Electric City Speedway

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: TJ Falls in Great Falls!                            

Puyallup, WA - August 21, 2011...

A tough night after a long drive ended the Montana Sprint Week prematurely for TJ and his team.  After starting out relatively strong on the evening in his Wesmar powered Maxim ASCS360 sprint car, the beating and banging finally took its toll and resulted in a short tow to the pits, and a long tow back to the Puyallup, WA home base.

The Electric City Speedway played host to 19 sprint cars on the first night of action in Montana.  And just as the team had expected, the fans and friendly staff were there to greet everyone.  Having visited the venue for the first time last season, it was a given that the teams limited schedule for 2011 would include a return to the Big Sky Country.  TJ begins the journey:  "It's a long way over there, but worth the drive.  The country is pretty, the people are nice, and I really enjoy the layout of the track at Great Falls.  I was really looking forward to Belgrade too."

TJ drew a 36 for the qualifying format, sending him out last in the field of cars to take their two laps on the clock.  The track crew had compensated for the warm August weather, and plenty of moisture remained throughout the session, as well as the entire night.  "I think going out late actually helped me," TJ explains.  "I just messed up both of my laps, and really the whole night because I kept pinching the corners.  I cost us a chance to be in the dash, but for as bad as my line was, eighth place wasn't bad." 

Hitting the invert on the top side of the field would line TJ up outside the second row in his heat race.  While all the cars would make the main event, he still had to finish in the top 5 to get his qualifying spot back.  As the green flew, the battle ensued, and TJ found himself struggling with a tight race car.  He takes the story:  "We messed up the call on the setup.  The track was not slicking off in the corners like it was the straightaways, and I was just too tight.  It didn't help that we were all racing like it was the last chance race, but once I finally got clear of the 44 car I could drive a little different to get around the track.  It didn't really matter though because everyone was in the main anyway."

Finishing 4th in the heat race would give TJ his 8th place main event starting position.  The team watched the dash cars run, and prepared for the main event.  TJ got a great start and took over the 6th position behind front row starter Jason Solwold who had fallen to 5th.  From there it all went downhill.  TJ calls the main:  "The start was good, but on the restarts they didn't put out the cone.  It kind of became a free for all.  I got hit a couple of times on one restart and then lost about three places when (Joe)Ramaker tried to gain some spots on the next restart and got all jacked up in front of us.  It was getting pretty crazy for awhile and then they decided to use the cone again."

After falling back to 9th, the race stayed green long enough for the leaders to encounter lapped traffic.  TJ would complete a pass but not before the lap was complete, and he was relegated back the spot, leaving a lapped car between himself and the 8th place car.  "I just don't think I was running my race," TJ reveals. "My car wasn't that good, but I was faster than everyone I was around.  I just kept thinking about what was going on behind me.  The 33 car went a little high on the restart so I stuck my nose in there, but I guess he changed his mind.  His left rear went over my right front exiting the corner and knocked my front end out.  That was pretty much our night.  I blame myself for getting caught up in all the messes."

The damage was enough to end the teams week on the spot, as the steering box was damaged in the process, and the team had not brought a spare.  All was not lost however, as TJ explains the positives he takes from the night and the 12th place finish:  "We made some wrong adjustments for the track.  We were kind of relying on our old information, instead of racing the track we had in front of us.  I really enjoy racing at Great Falls and the way the track is laid out.  The engine ran great again, and if I had been better myself, we probably could have finished near the front.  I want to thank Dan(Mann), Alan(Sleaford), and Mike(Quigley) for putting on the show.  We like going to Montana and being treated well by everyone.  Next time I think I'll just follow Jason(Solwold) on the restarts and listen to Muffin, and that will work out better for me!"

The team wants to thank everyone for following along and their words of encouragement.  Be sure to keep up to date on the latest news by visiting the Facebook fan page or his web site at: www.TJHartmanRacing.com Instant race night messages are always available by signing up via twitter at: www.twitter.com/tjhartman19 and thank you to everyone for tuning in and commenting. 

The racing schedule is still limited, 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 - Steering Rebuild!                

Electric City Speedway 8/17/11 Results:
Saturday:  Qualify:  8th of 19 cars
Heat     Start: 4th    Finish: 4th
A-Main Start:  8th    Finish: 12th


TJ Hartman Racing