TJ Hartman Racing News August 29, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - Sunset in Grays Harbor County

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: Two Nights, Two Scenarios, One Outcome!                            

Puyallup, WA - August 29, 2011...

Puyallup, WA is home for the #19 Wesmar powered Maxim ASCS sprintcar.  Being able to run two consecutive nights and work out of your home shop is a plus when issues arise with the race car.  TJ and his team were able to repair all of the damage from the previous weekend in Montana, and prepared for both nights of ASCS Northwest action at the Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA where he would record a pair of top 10 finishes.

The unusually low car count for the series home base was a huge benefit for the 19 year old.  TJ begins the weekend:  "My car was wicked to drive the first night.  Our spare parts are limited, and when we put the car back together, we had the front end off from where it should have been.  We really didn't find out the problem until the main event was over, and my dad saw the problem.  We both should have known better, and it really wasted the entire first night.  We knew going home we had to find the right stuff for the car."

TJ drew a 40 for the passing points format on the opening night, but with a mount that wasn't going to cooperate, it would be up to him alone to overcome and try and push his car forward.  "I just tried to push it hard and keep the tires on the ground,"  TJ states.  "The track was hooked up all night, and with the messed up car I was way too tight.  I started the main event in thirteenth and finished ninth.  We were pretty happy with that, especially since they cut the laps of the race and I didn't have much time to move forward.  I'm lucky there was only 18 cars, or I probably would not have got out of the B-main."


Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - Hooked up at GHR

A quick trip to the car wash on the way home, a few hours sleep, and a shop to service the car greeted the team in the morning.  TJ prepares for night two:  "It's good to run close to home because we can't carry everything we might need in the trailer.  We were able to make some different parts work to get the car back closer to where it should be.  I felt really good about heading back down for the second night, and we decided to have Nicki draw for me and try and improve in that department!"

The plan for night two got off to a good start when a 14 pill came out of the basket.  That would slot the #19 starting 3rd in his heat race, and an opportunity to earn enough points to get in the redraw.  But having a plan, and getting it implemented, are two different things.  TJ talks about the heat race:  "I screwed us big time.  The car was almost perfect, the track was pretty good for passing, and I just wasn't thinking right.  I tried to make a pass on the bottom way to soon, instead of waiting another lap, and then I never got off the bottom and went from being probably the fastest car in the heat race to finishing last.  I'm lucky there wasn't very many cars there again."

Another unusually low car count would benefit TJ and his team.  While losing all the passing points would slot TJ 15th in the 16 car field, the team was fortunate they were not locked in the cellar of a B-main for the second night in a row.  "It really hurts when you have the good car again, and then the driver messes up that bad," TJ says dejectedly. "I got a little tune up, and some direction to just put it behind us and prepare for the main.  But if I had driven that heat race as smart as I drove the night before with a messed up car, we would have been sitting pretty good."


Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ at speed showing the fans a treat

The track surface was holding up well to the 80+ degree heat that had pummeled it for the two day show.  A little prep was done to the top of the track as the cars pushed to the front stretch, and TJ focused his attention to the job at hand - try and move forward once again.  He takes the green flag:  "We didn't expect the cushion to be that good, but my car was pretty good for it.  The bottom had kind of gone away, and you really had to run it hard on the top and hope someone missed it a little to make a pass.  I made a couple passes, and one time almost hit the wall coming out of (turn) 4 when I jumped the cushion.  I just got it going again.  I knew the leaders were coming when Chadd(Noland) showed his nose.  A couple laps later Roger(Crockett) slid me and I knew I was lapped."

TJ had inched his way towards a top 10 finish, when a yellow came out and trapped him the lap down, and lined up in the 4th positions with the leaders in front and behind.  With just a handful of laps remaining, all that was left for the fledgling team was to turn a few more laps and stay out of the way of the leaders.  TJ takes the checkered:  "It's the worst feeling when the yellow comes out a couple laps after you've been lapped, and you're up there with all the guys racing for the win.  You can be just as fast at that point, but you can't do anything.  Jayme(Barnes) was behind me, so I went where he wanted and just tried to learn a little bit about how the big cushion was with the car.  Following him kind of showed me what I was doing already was right, and I ended up finishing tenth.  We were pretty happy with that."

Struggling is nothing new for TJ and his team, but the end result always includes acknowledging the mistakes, and the things done right.  Sprintcar racing is fast, and in the blink of an eye, it's over.  That's why they are called sprintcars.  TJ talks about the lessons for the weekend and gives thanks:  "Well first I want to thank Paul(Silva) again for being there for me to learn from.  Being able to talk with him on the phone gives me confidence.  And second, I want to thank Will(Champagne) for helping coach me this weekend.  He sees things out there that I feel in the car, and it's great to have somebody outside of our team that comes up and asks me what I learned when I make the mistakes.  He reminds me that I need to get the job done, and learning from my mistakes is the first step.  I want to thank my crew plus Doug(Anderson) for coming out to help again both nights.  It's good to have someone my age helping.  And last I really have to say thanks to Bruce Wolfe.  Bruce made it possible for me to run this weekend by giving me a set of tires, and after all the damage from the rocks on the wings, he gave me a brand new front wing.  Bruce has been a good friend and helper to a lot of racers at Grays Harbor on the big track and the little track, and I really appreciate what he did for me this weekend.  Oh!  And I can't forget my dad.  He was there for me again on both nights, and knowing what he goes through to do it is hard for other people to see.  At least he's letting me drive the truck and trailer half the time now!"


Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ being TJ   

The entire TJ Hartman Racing team is very appreciative of the ASCS crew for their work this weekend.  It was great seeing our close friends at the track, and is always enjoyable to have the fans and series staff come to the pits and greet us with their smiling faces.  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 team is committed to improving our program for ourselves, our friends, our fans, and most of all, for our sponsors.  Without them, we couldn't do this.  Please support those who support TJ Hartman Racing!    

Next scheduled stop - Watching Replays!                

Grays Harbor Raceway ASCS NW Results:
Friday 8/26/2011:     Pill Draw: 40
Heat Start: 5th          Finish: 5th
A-Main Start: 13th    Finish: 9th
Saturday 8/27/2011: Pill Draw: 14
Heat Start: 3rd          Finish: 5th
A-Main Start: 15th    Finish: 10th


TJ Hartman Racing