TJ Hartman Racing News April 28, 2008



TJ Hartman Racing News April 28th, 2008
April 28th, 2008
Author: Ted Hartman


There are some things that remain consistent in this world. The first thing to know about racing, or spectating, at the Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA. is knowing to bundle up - no matter the time of year. When the sun goes down, the moist ocean air cools down, and the action heats up. TJ's debut at the high banked 3/8 mile clay oval was met with great enthusiasm by those who have been waiting to see him run the Lacey Auto Licensing, A1A BuyNSell, BeachHut Vacations, Wesmar powered Maxim sprintcar. All expectations of the Puyallup, WA based team were met - including the ongoing practical jokes. Keeping it fun is priority one!

A tacky track made for a super fast, hooked up car, which was new to TJ, who had yet to experience those types of G-forces in a sprint car. "I'm used to running on the dry slick tracks" TJ comments. "Right away my neck got tired, so I just leaned my head up against my Butlerbuilt seat and hung on!" The 16 year old youngster had been formulating a plan for some areas he knew he wanted to improve upon. "I've always been kind of a slow starter, so I really focused on getting good starts and getting up to speed right away." TJ continues with his self report card of the night - "I felt like I accomplished that, and felt really comfortable in the car. The engine ran great and the car was fast. I need to work on getting through traffic a little better. I think once I've raced with these guys some more, I'll know better what moves to make. Finishing 6th wasn't what I expected for my first time down there. Those guys are pretty tough and have a lot of laps around that place, so I'm pretty happy to run where I did."

Rookie drivers are supposed to carry a rookie ribbon tied to the back of the car to let the veteran drivers know who and what they're coming up on. Mysteriously, sometime in the evening, that rookie ribbon was redirected to the back of the quad used to push TJ up to the staging line. Apparently the rookie skills of the crew chief were evident for most to see, and the practical jokes continue in the TJ Hartman Racing camp! "We had the car pretty tight" TJ says with a relieved smile. "I missed my line in one of the early laps, and caught the infield berm, which made the car wheelie up pretty good. It came down really hard, and I just got back on the gas and hoped nothing was broken."

The hard landing broke a front wing mount, but the damage wasn't enough to keep TJ from continuing to run laps averaging just over 100 mph, and finishing a respectable 6th place. The crew was all smiles as TJ greeted his fans in the pits after the race. Delays in the evenings racing program, and the mid 30 degree weather, wasn't enough to keep TJ's supporters from taking the time to go down in the pits afterwards to congratulate the Emerald Ridge High School sophomore. For TJ and all of his fans in Elma, it was a night that was a long time coming, and judging by all of the smiling faces, it proved to be worth the long wait.

Some things in this world remain consistent. Cool night temperatures in Elma, a race team crew that is relentless in their practical jokes, and a driver that always brings a smile to those around him. The first item is easily ignored when you're having fun, and at TJ Hartman Racing, it's off to a fun start in 2008.

Stay up to date on all of the exciting news for TJ by visiting his web site at The next race is at the Grays Harbor Raceway on May 3rd, and everyone is invited out to cheer on the team. Please remember all of the great sponsors of TJ Hartman Racing, and show your enthusiasm for the team by supporting those who support us.

Next stop - Grays Harbor Raceway - May 3rd!