TJ Hartman Racing News February 23, 2009



TJ Hartman Racing News February 23rd, 2009
February 23rd, 2009
Author: Ted Hartman


Photo Courtesy of The Nicki Factor - TJ and his crew listening to the fresh Wesmar power plant.

TJ Hartman Racing - UPDATE - TJ Pulls His Team Out of Hibernation!

Puyallup, WA - February 22, 2009...

TJ and his team took advantage of some decent weather in February, and installed his newly freshened Wesmar engine in the non-wing car to fire it off and make sure everything is set to go for the 2009 racing season - now less than two months away. It is important for TJ to get everyone on his crew together before the season starts and share ideas, plans, and goals for the upcoming season.

The Winter has been long for the Puyallup teenager. Anxious to get back in the seat and do what he loves the most, racing a 1500 pound sprint car, TJ knows the work begins long before he ever hits the track. "We got the engine installed and fired. We like to check everything over for leaks and check the (ignition)timing, and stuff like that. It sounded great - Kelly and his guys did another first class job making this thing just like new again. Hearing the engine run makes me really excited to get on the track again!"

Photo Courtesy of The Nicki Factor - TJ rounding the first corner of 2009 - into the driveway of his shop!

Aside from hearing the engine start for the first time in 2009, TJ met with his excited crew. He narrates the plans: "I feel like I'm ready to travel a little bit, and see some different tracks. At the end of last season we were planning on running the ASCS Northwest tour in '09. I know I need to race at a level where my team can compete and take advantage of the most track time for us to learn. After seeing the schedules come out, we decided to take a different approach then what we've done in the past."

In each of his 11 years of racing, TJ has set specific goals and laid out a specific plan for the season - occasionally more than a year in advance. The calculating youngster continues: "We're basically set to run about 22-25 nights with our current program. It's pretty much a family funded program right now, so we always make sure we're going to get the most out of the time we can run. After last season, I'm confident about running the sprint car pretty much anywhere, but I also want to run a lot of laps. I know that the more laps I turn, the more I'll be able to learn. Tommie(Estes - ASCS National Director) pretty much told us that too when we were in Orlando, so we're going to focus on races where we know I can spend the most time in the seat in the 25 or so times I'll be running my own car this year."

The quest for experience behind the wheel takes an untraveled road. TJ explains: "For 2009, we're going to make our (schedule)decisions on short notice. I want to run different tracks to gain more experience, so we're not going to set a specific schedule for the year. We'll basically decide where we're going a week or two in advance, and base the decision on how we all feel we're progressing. The one thing that won't change is we still plan on racing almost every weekend. But this will give me a chance to take advantage of the entire season, without feeling like we're committed to a track, a series, or a goal other than just getting experience. I think I'll be able to have other opportunities this way too, but it's definitely going to be different than we've done in the past. We've always made a plan and stuck with it." He adds with a laugh: "I guess this is the same. We have a plan, it's just different!"

TJ concludes the update: "We've got a couple more things we want to do in the shop, but other than that, we could load the car in the trailer tomorrow and be ready. My crew is behind me 100%, and that gives me a lot of confidence. I'm really excited to get going. April seems like a year away!"

Next scheduled stop - Waiting for April and hoping for sunshine!

TJ Hartman Racing