TJ Hartman Racing News June 22, 2009



TJ Hartman Racing News June 22nd, 2009
June 22nd, 2009
Author: Ted Hartman

Photo courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - TJ hot lapping at GHR on June 6th

TJ Hartman Racing - UPDATE - Schools Out, the Lesson is Learned

Puyallup, WA - June 22, 2009...

TJ finished up his Junior year at Emerald Ridge High School this past Friday, completing all of his assignments and final tests. Despite the effects of a head concussion suffered in the accident on June 6th at the high banked super fast Grays Harbor Raceway, the resilient teenager pushed through to complete the school year. With racing not far from his mind, he also set about the task of having his safety gear examined by the manufacturers, resulting in a shocking surprise.

From the beginning, safety has taken precedence in TJ's preparation, and it paid off big for him and his family. TJ explains: "Right after the accident we saw one of the clips from the HANS device was bent. But a couple of days later we discovered that one of the release clasps had stretched apart and released. My dad called HANS and they said to send it in to have it checked."

The metal clasp connects the neck support tethers together, effectively protecting the head from rotating forward. TJ continues: "Jamie called me and said they discovered the HANS device itself was cracked and broken from the wreck. He said it was very lucky that he was able to still be talking to me. I could tell from his voice that he had a lot of concern for how hard the hit was. He said they have never seen something like this from a sprint car crash, only from super speedway crashes. I'm very lucky I wasn't hurt worse than I was."

Photo Courtesy of Fletcher Motorsports - Immediately following the crash

The results were similar in tests performed on TJ's carbon fiber helmet. "Desire' from Simpson had my helmet tested too." TJ states. "They said it failed their inspection, but we both agreed that it did its job protecting me. She said I took one bleep of a hit, and she was glad I was OK. So I'll be replacing all of that safety gear before I can race again. I also want to say thank you to Maxim Chassis for their get well soon ad on Hoseheads, and also Jeannie and Brian from Butlerbuilt seats. They spent a lot of time going through the pictures and video from the crash, and said we had everything installed properly. I know their seat and advice helped protect me, and hearing Jeannie say she is like a mother when it comes to her drivers is really, really cool."

The calls and letters of support TJ and his family have received since the accident is endless, and very much appreciated. Knowing how much the safety suppliers care about their products is comforting, and knowing the racing community wants TJ back behind the wheel as soon as possible is humbling. TJ talks about his immediate plans: "We talked with Kelly(Wesmar Racing) and decided to get the engine back there to see how bad the damage is inside. We'll know more about that soon and make some decisions after that. Right now I'm working on a couple of things while I'm waiting to find out about our stuff. I want to be at the race track no matter what, so I'll just see how things go and when we get our stuff back together I'll be ready."

Being at the race track is important to TJ, and he spent this weekend at Skagit Speedway and the Dirt Cup. He talks about being among his peers: "My friend Mac gave me a ride up there, and it was cool to be around everybody and have them say they were glad I was OK. I'm pretty much good to go now, and it's good to know how everyone cares about you. Jayme(Barnes) won the race, and that was really cool because he has given me lots of encouragement, and it felt good to be helping him even if it was just wiping off the car. He is one of the best around, and his team is always fun to hang around with. His dad gave me a new nickname, but we won't talk about that!"

TJ will be updating his web site with the latest information on his plans as they develop. The team appreciates all of the support from everyone during the past two weeks, and a simple thank you to some is not enough. Getting TJ back in the seat of the family car will only be possible through the support of those who support him, and we ask for each of you to please support those who support us.

Next scheduled stop - News from Bixby!

One more lap with TJ - "Performance Coatings in Auburn, WA is another one of my great sponsors. Their ceramic coating on the headers and mufflers keeps our car looking great, and performing great too! Brad and his guys have given me great service, and have supported me since I started racing sprint cars. They coat more than just exhaust parts too, and they know a lot about all kinds of racing. They're fun to talk with in the shop and always have a smile for me when I go through the door. Thank you Brad and Performance Coatings!"