TJ Hartman Racing News May 5, 2008

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TJ Hartman Racing News May 5th, 2008
May 5th, 2008
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The decision to pull away from the shop with a race car in tow, and the windshield wipers on high, proved to be the right one for the Puyallup, WA based 360 Sprint car team. Twenty miles outside of Elma, the skies cleared and made for a glorious afternoon to prepare TJ Hartman's Wesmar powered Maxim for duty at the Grays Harbor Raceway. The evening was filled with the ups and downs of racing, but in the end, TJ and his team showed they have the drive to compete.

A steady wind and the bright sun made for a drier track this week, and that brought a smile to the 16 year old's face. "The track was good for me." TJ comments. "We had the car set up a little better this week, and I felt really comfortable." A good pill draw, and a fantastic run in a loaded heat race, landed the Lacey Auto Licensing, A1A BuyNSell, Beach Hut Vacations team in it's first ever trophy dash. "We almost missed it!" TJ says with concern. "We were so excited, we missed the call to get ready, and I had to scramble to get out there."

The Main event had TJ starting outside row 2, and on the start he dropped a few positions. He describes the rest of the night: "I'm still getting comfortable knowing what everyone is going to do, so I fell back a little on the start. We had loosened the car up a little, and when the fuel load started burning off, it just kept getting looser for me." With less than a handful of laps remaining, TJ found himself with nowhere to turn, as he slid into another car that had spun exiting turn two. The impact spun the #19 Sprint car around and the rookie driver tipped over on his side.

TJ continues: "I knew my top wing was bent, and the wing ram was leaking fluid everywhere. But the biggest damage was my front tire had demounted, so I had to go to the pits. They towed me in, my crew put a new tire on, and I was able to get back out there and pass some cars in the final laps. I wish I could have avoided the wreck, but I was pretty happy to get back out and score my first top five finish at Elma." The impact from the crash also smashed the exhaust header, but it wasn't enough to hold him back. "When we took off I heard the exhaust wasn't right, but it still had plenty of power, and there was only a few laps left, so I just went for it." TJ states in a satisfied tone. The entire team and the fans were more than satisfied to see the young driver unaffected by his first crash in the sprint car.

"We've got some work to do on the car this week, but I can't wait to get out there again." TJ says with a beaming smile.

Racing resumes May 10th at the Grays Harbor Raceway for TJ Hartman Racing. The fans continue to come out and cheer on the team. TJ wants to remind everyone that he could not be racing without the help of all his great sponsors and friends of TJ Hartman Racing, and please show your enthusiasm for the team by supporting those who support us.

Next stop - Grays Harbor Raceway - May 10th!