TJ Hartman Racing News June 4, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ and his #19 in Heat Race Action

TJ Hartman Racing - Update: Fan Appreciation!

Puyallup, WA - June 2, 2012...

Saturday weather broke blue skies in Elma for Fan Appreciation night at the 3/8 mile clay oval.  TJ and his team would compete there for the fifth time this season, and tied their best finish with a 4th place run in the field shortened main event.  The fans weren't short changed however, as a hooked up race track provided them with drivers doing all they could to muscle around the fast racing surface.

The team gathered in Puyallup for the 1 hour+ drive.  TJ begins the weekend: "Fan Appreciation night is one of the funnest nights of the year down there.  No matter where we go, the fans love the sprintcars.  They always have a smile and something nice to say.  We usually talk our friends into coming down for this night because they get to come out on the race track and hang around us for a bit before we start racing.  It's a good time."

The group qualifying format found TJ 5th fastest out of the short 9 car field.  As such, officials grouped all nine cars into one heat race, with TJ lining up on the outside pole courtesy of the 6 car invert.  TJ takes the green flag: "I don't know how many times I have lined up next to Jay(Cole) for the start of a race down there this year, but it seems like we're next to each other every week.  I felt like we got a good start and ran next to each other for a couple laps before he pulled away a little.  I missed the bottom when I tried to go low and fell back, but I still ended up second.  I knew I was going to need some improvements to be better in the main.  Especially when they pulled a six row invert."

TJ would line up for the main event outside the 4th row.  With the same tough competition all around him, it was clear the task would be difficult to get to the front.  "I totally misread the track." TJ states as he starts the main event.  "It tacked up really good around the bottom, and I was just way to tight down there.  I should have just taken my car to the top and stayed there, because I was pretty good up there."

Unfortunately, the fastest way around a big track like Elma, when it is tacky, is on the bottom.  And as good as his WESMAR powered Maxim was up top, he struggled to keep up with the cars taking the shorter route.  TJ finishes the main event:  "I probably didn't give the bottom enough of a chance to run there with a tight car.  I committed myself to running the top, which wasn't the fastest way around the track tonight.  Everyone was pulling wheelies off the bottom and cutting my momentum coming off the corners.  I had a couple close calls and ended up in the wall once, but I finally got around a few cars.  All in all, fourth place was OK, but I should have been better.  It seems like I'm passing the same cars all night long and they pass me back and then I have to work on them again.  I've got to keep my momentum going forward throughout the race."


Photo Courtesy of Nicki Hartman - TJ greeting the fans on Fan Appreciation Night

The race teams love the fans as much as the fans love the race teams.  And this yearly event gives the two an extra opportunity to get up close and personal.  It is a must see event for every fan, and a must do event for every race team.  TJ finishes the night: "For my fans, it doesn't matter where I finish.  We had just an OK night, and they were still smiling after the race.  I want to thank all of them for coming out and supporting racing and the sprintcars especially.  I also have to thank DJ for helping crew again tonight.  And also someone I don't mention, but he is a great friend and neighbor, Vern Page.  We've had his quad for a couple of years now and he just smiles and says keep it in your shop!  But we couldn't do without one, or his help in the shop when we need something, so I have to thank Vern for that."

TJ has a few things to attend to before deciding if he will head back down to Elma, or make the trek North to Skagit Speedway next Saturday. Wherever he ends up, be sure to come out and cheer on the Pride of Puyallup, as TJ and the #19 sprintcar team look to improve on the year! 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 - Wing Repair & Tire Choice!

TJ Hartman Racing