TJ Hartman Racing News April 21, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Nicki Hartman - TJ hotlapping the Grays Harbor Raceway!

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: 2012 is Underway!

Puyallup, WA - April 23, 2012...

A fabulous Northwest Spring day helped dissipate several days of hard rain, allowing the Grays Harbor Raceway and its staff to greet a group of hungry racers this past Saturday night.  The anxious wait was over for TJ and his crew as they made the short trek to Elma and participated in week number 1 of the 2012 racing season.  It was a night that left some questions unanswered, but also gave the team a respectable 4th place finish on the night.

The Northwest season is short, and races are weekly at best.  That makes for a rusty crew and driver, especially since it has been more than six months since methanol fueled the air and the adrenalin flowed.  TJ begins the night: "My confidence was really high, but I found out pretty quick that I'm pretty rusty.  I thought hotlaps and qualifying went well, and for what happened on my warm up lap for the heat race, I thought the heat race came off pretty good too."

TJ powered his way to a 5th place qualifying effort and readied his ASCS Maxim sprintcar for the heat race.  Scheduled to start inside row 2, a worn part changed things in a hurry as the top wing tree came apart on TJ's warmup lap.  "I came out of turn two and the wing folded over and blocked my view." TJ states.  "I stopped and they pushed me to the work area where my crew fixed it for me.  Well, they kind of fixed it!  All they had with them was a ratchet strap so they tied it down and they pushed me off."

Tagging the back of the heat race, TJ was the benefactor of some good driving and a bit of luck, and won the 10 lap sprint to the checkered flag.  TJ talks about the race: "I can't believe the strap worked.  I could feel the tail of it dangling around me but I just focused on trying to run the track, and the car felt pretty good so I just stayed after it.  It feels good to cross the line first no matter what race it is, but I knew I needed to get it done in the main event."

 

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Photo Courtesy of Nicki Hartman - TJ talking setups

The team prepared the car for the main event, but as it got underway, it was apparent that the Winter blues were going to overcome the brilliant sunshine leading up to the evenings main event.  A two row invert was drawn, and TJ lined up in the high point position outside row 2 for the green flag.  It quickly became apparent he wasn't going to have the speed to finish atop the class on this night.  TJ finishes the race: "My decision making just wasn't good at all.  I spent too much time trying to make the car do stuff down low and it made us look really bad.  I fell back a couple of spots and when I finally moved up the track, I was just too frustrated to turn any good laps.  I was lucky to finish fourth.  I've got a lot of work to do on my thought process when I'm at the track, but I'm committed to making it happen.  My team, fans, and sponsors all deserve that."

TJ will head back to Grays Harbor Raceway next week and take a stab at the high banked 3/8 mile clay oval once again.  In addition to all of his sponsors, he has several people to thank for making this past weeks race a possibility.  "First I have to thank all of my crew, and a couple of people who showed up to help.  DJ, Mike, and John made the work a lot easier on my dad and really helped out when the top wing came apart.  It was also good to see Barry and Doug and it's just a fun time to be in our pits when all those guys are around.  But mostly I want to thank Paul and Jayme for talking me through some questions I had on the setups.  When racers of their caliber are willing to try and help me out over the phone, it makes me want to try even harder to please everyone.  My confidence is still high.  Now I just have to stay focused on what I'm doing and listen to those guys and not try and over-think this."

Racing gets underway at the Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA around 6:30 PM.  Come out and cheer on TJ and the #19 sprintcar team!  If you can't make it, be sure to follow along on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/tjhartman19 or on TJ's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/tjhartmanracing

Don't forget to stop by TJ's web site and come visit us in the pits following all of the races!


Next scheduled stop - Stop Thinking!

TJ Hartman Racing