TJ Hartman Racing News May 20, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Nicki Hartman - TJ in qualifying at the Grays Harbor Raceway

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: Assertion!

Puyallup, WA - May 19, 2012...

Hoping to carry momentum from last weekends win at Skagit Speedway, TJ and his team came up short Saturday night at Grays Harbor Raceway.  A slew of good race teams showed up to get some track time before next weekends ASCS Northwest double header, and that made for a tougher night at a track that is already tough to begin with.  TJ would wind up just inside the top 10 for the main event, finishing 9th.

 

The Puyallup WA based team got off to a decent start by qualifying 10th, which landed the WESMAR powered Maxim on the outside front row of the third heat race.  TJ begins the night: "I pulled a low pill which put my group out on the track when it was still kind of greasy.  So I felt pretty good about where I qualified with the guys around me.  By the heat race the track had changed quite a bit and slicked off up to a pretty big cushion."

 

Starting outside of Grays Harbor veteran Jay Cole, TJ showed he was a little too ready to start the heat race!  "With the big cushion, I wanted to get out front!" TJ exclaims.  "I jumped the start pretty good so they called it back and gave me another chance.  The second start was better and I beat Jay to the corner and just focused on running clean laps.  There was a big hole entering turn three, and you had to hit it right to get through it.  I was really happy with the way my car was working, and it felt good to take another checkered flag in front of the pack."

 

So far the night was looking good for TJ, and a zero invert pill drawn for the main event would be even better for the 19 team - lining TJ up inside the second row in the third position.  When both of the front row starters spun in the first turn on the initial green flag, TJ and the rest of the field narrowly avoided carnage before the race had barely begun.  TJ begins the main event: "Ricky(Fauver) spun right in front of me, but he was able to keep it going, so on the restart I was still lined up behind him.  I got a great start again.  But I hesitated sliding up to the cushion, and before we exited turn two, I was getting passed on both sides.  I didn't want to crowd Cody(Ridge) because I knew he was fast tonight, but in hindsight, I missed that opportunity that basically ended my chance at a good finish."

 

Before two laps would complete, TJ would find the field strung out with him hanging around the eighth position.  A few competitors ventured to the bottom of the 3/8 mile clay oval to search for a way past the cars in front of them, but the fast way aound was on the cushion.  With little more than a handful of laps remaining in the 30 lap main event, TJ would test the bottom, only to lose another position, and take the checkered flag in the 9th position.  TJ finishes the race: "When I got back to the trailer I immediately apologized to my crew.  My dad and I talked about making a change to the car before the main event, and I basically talked him out of it.  That was a mistake that I wish we had back.  I had a great starting position with a car that was fast all night, and I didn't capitalize on it - in the pits and out on the race track.  You don't get do-overs, but I think we learned that we just all need to be more assertive and more aggressive.  You have to get everything out of that first lap, and you have to read the track properly.  That was the difference between this week, and last week.  I should have had more confidence in what we were doing, and I didn't."

 

TJ and his team will take what they learned and apply it twice next weekend when the competition gets even tougher as the best sprintcar teams in the Northwest begin the ASCS NW series at Grays Harbor Raceway both Saturday and Sunday nights.  Racing gets underway around 6:30, so bring your family out and watch your dirt track heroes display their skills on the high banked, super fast, Grays Harbor Raceway!

 

TJ concludes the night: "Even after the success of last weekend, it's pretty clear I still need to work on some things.  Being fast doesn't require just a fast race car.  I have to say thanks again to my crew including Mac and Will.  They are a great help and fun to be around.  Also to Jerry Day for hanging out with us all night and offering some tips and snagging my girlfriends phone number!  That old guy is pretty sharp!"

 

Be sure to check out some of the racing action from Saturday night by going to Fletcher Motorsports and browse through his albums.  Also, be sure to come out and cheer on TJ and the #19 sprintcar team when you can, and 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

 

Next scheduled stop - Assertiveness Training!

TJ Hartman Racing