TJ Hartman Racing News September 10, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of The Nicki Factor - TJ Gearing Up

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: Self-Inflicted Wound!                            

Puyallup, WA - September 10, 2011...

A beautiful September Saturday morning and an eager 19 year old combined to get the Puyallup, WA based sprint car driver and his family team to Grays Harbor Raceway for the season championship race.  The late decision to race ended up costing the #19 Wesmar powered Maxim. 

Preparation is everything, and TJ's normal due diligence in maintaining and preparing his race car took another hit in this abbreviated 2011 season.  TJ begins the weekend:  "We decided Saturday morning to go ahead and load up for Elma.  You do this same stuff every week, and you really need to pay attention on everything you're doing.  When we pushed off for packing, the coil wire blew off the mag box.  We put it back on and the car fired, so we thought we were good to go.  I guess we didn't dodge the bullet like I thought we did."

The top 6 in points were locked into the dash for the shortened, no heat race, season championship format.  TJ would need to have a good run in the group qualifying/hot lap session, and he did just that, qualifying second.  "The car was great for qualifying, but I thought it felt like it was stumbling again coming off the corners,"  TJ states.  "We had the fuel system a little fat, so we just watched the air and waited for the main event to make the adjustments."


Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - Qualifying at GHR

TJ would slot his mount up outside the 4th row in the 8th position.  Two cars would spin in separate incidents on the opening lap, necessitating a complete restart.  The second attempt worked out better for TJ, as he looked to move forward in the field.  "My first start wasn't real good,"  TJ explains.  "I got a better start the second time and just tried to go where everyone wasn't.  Grays Harbor has pretty much been on the top all year, so that's where everyone went and I headed for the bottom."

TJ would pick up 3 positions in the first handful of laps by working the bottom of the high banked 3/8 mile clay oval.  Another position was negated when a yellow flew for a spinning car behind the pack.  TJ would relinquish the position for the restart, but he had shown his cards, and worse, his car was developing a problem.  He talks about the main event:  "My car was great, and I really wish that yellow wouldn't have come out.  I was having a problem with the engine not running right, but the car was so good, I could make it stick anywhere, especially coming off (turn)4.  On the restart I got jammed up and lost all the momentum I needed to keep the car running.  I knew I had lost any chance of a good finish."

After falling back, TJ would rebound and pick up one position to finish the night in 6th place.  He talks dejectedly about the night:  "It was just so disappointing to have a car that good, and have another problem with the engine.  Every problem we've had this year has been self-inflicted, and that hurts the most.  Logan(eventual winner Forler) came around to lap me and I tried to stay on the lead lap, but I knew he was way faster so I just moved up to let him go and tried to watch his line for the last couple of laps.  I learned a little there, but with the engine not running, all I could do was watch him drive away."



Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ aims for the bottom of turn 1 at GHR
An early inspection of the problem indicates a problem with the mag box when the coil wire popped off.  "I hate it that I cost us a good weekend by not getting the car back together right this week.," TJ states.  "They call these learning experiences, but it's still tough to take.  When you have a car as good as we have had this year, the finishes should show that, but we're just struggling to put it at the front.  I really have to thank Will(Champagne) again this week for his help in reading the track and coaching my driving.  It's really helping me concentrate more on driving, and I just can't thank him enough."

The entire TJ Hartman Racing team is grateful to Will, along with all of our friends, fans, and most of all, our sponsors.  As the Northwest 2011 season is beginning to wind down, TJ is unsure if there will be any races left for this season.  Be sure to stay up to date by watching his twitter and Facebook updates, and as always, please support those who support TJ Hartman Racing!    

Next scheduled stop - Shipping a Mag Box!                

Grays Harbor Raceway Season Championship Results:
Saturday 9/10/2011:     Qualify: 2nd
A-Main Start: 8th    Finish: 6th


TJ Hartman Racing