TJ Hartman Racing News May 30, 2009



TJ Hartman Racing News May 30th, 2009
May 30th, 2009
Author: Ted Hartman


Photo courtesy of The Nicki Factor - TJ smiles for a picture with a few of his younger fans

TJ Hartman Racing - UPDATE - One, Two, Three, Four, Five.........

Puyallup, WA - May 30, 2009...

TJ starts to come alive! A beautiful, warm May evening in Elma found the Puyallup teenager gathering some momentum as he brought home his Wesmar powered Maxim to his best finish of the year so far. This week, the count at the Grays Harbor Raceway went like this: One - first car out to qualify. Two - negotiating a treacherous slick turn two. Three - position qualified. Four - position finished in the heat race to make the invert. Five - position finished in the green to checkered non-stop A-main event.

Pulling a 3-pill for qualifying meant TJ would be first out to qualify, and sometimes an error can actually help you. A miscue in chassis setup may have actually helped TJ for a change. He begins the night: "We decided to change a tire for qualifying, and when I went to qualify the car was way to tight! As soon as I got to the scale my dad said we made a mistake, and I said ya, it was pretty tight. But it ended up being a much better lap than I thought it was going to be. Being first out with the track that wet isn't really good. But it ended up being third quick for the night, so I was really happy. I was watching the other cars qualify, and my time was holding up until the fast time came about 12 cars out, so I knew we were pretty good."

Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ headed out to qualify at GHR in Elma, WA

The qualifying position placed TJ inside row 3 for his heat race, where a ragged start spread the field out. Needing a 4th place finish to make the main event invert redraw, TJ had a little luck fall his way. He picks up the story: "It wasn't a great start, but they let it go. I fell back to 6th for a lap or so, and then passed Kelly(Mayer) for 5th. I was chasing Jay(Cole), but I wasn't really gaining any ground. With a couple laps to go I saw his right front tire fly into the wall off turn 4 and he was right in the middle of the track. I wasn't sure which way he was going, and I just barely missed him. I talked to him afterward and he said he was trying to keep it out of the way. It was a close call, and he did good to not crash us."

Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ driving into turn 1 at GHR

Jay Cole's misfortune was the opportunity TJ needed, and he took advantage, walking away from Mayer and the fast qualifier on the restart, to secure the 4th place finish needed to be eligible for the redraw. A 6 pill drawn meant TJ would line up inside row 3 for the main event. As his team contemplated what to do to the chassis for the main event, the youngster loaded his helmet with tear-offs, and prepared to strap in tight. "After my qualifying run, we were a little nervous to tighten the car up." TJ states. "We guessed that the track would stay heavy and rough like it has been, but we missed it a little. The track was actually the smoothest it's been all year, and that was nice to be able to really feel what the car was doing during the race."

The field lined up for the 25 lap main event, the green flag dropped, and 5 minutes and 38 seconds later the checkered flew. A non-stop event is just the kind of race TJ enjoys, as it gives him the consistent green flag laps he likes to feel out his car. He finishes the night: "I got a pretty decent start, and just kinda fell into 5th place. I had a shot at 4th a couple of times early in the race, but I couldn't make it. My car was just a little too loose in turn 1 and 2, and everybody was down on the bottom where the moisture was. I could catch the car in front of me in traffic, but I really wasn't in a position to make the pass. We got into lapped traffic a couple of times, and I worked that pretty good I thought. I ended up finishing 5th, and it felt good to finally run a whole race where I know we're capable of being. JJ(Hickle - the nights winner) was checked out and gone. We talked afterwards, and he told me how he got through turn 1, and I know I should have been doing that too."

Photo courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ taking his place in the main event line-up at GHR

The top 5 finish felt good to the entire team. "We've got the car really comfortable to drive this year." TJ states. "Now we'll just keep inching our way to the edge. I had a lot of fun tonight and Jim even came out for the first time since his surgery, which was a good surprise. I know we can be even faster, and we'll just keep pushing it until we get it perfect."

Getting it right is a priority for TJ and his team, and his dedication makes it easy to keep digging for him. Always wearing a smile, TJ is one of the fan favorites, and a must do for the kids and adults alike to get their autographs. The team appreciates all of the support from the fans, and ask for each of them to please support those who support us.

Next scheduled stop - !

One more lap with TJ - "Parts Plus of Canyon Road gets me the things I need to keep the car running. If Tony doesn't have what I need, he gets to for me right away. It's always fun to go over there and talk with him and his guys. They're always nice and happy to see me. If you need anything for your car, those are the guys to see! I'm happy to have Parts Plus as a sponsor for the past two years. Thanks Tony and Parts Plus of Canyon Road!"

TJ Hartman Racing