The problem with that is that Hartford doesn’t think he has a problem other than a simple lack of good old race day luck. When asked about his struggles, the Total Seal driver quickly provides the following.
“Las Vegas is a great example of what’s happening with us,” Hartford said. “I qualified in the top half of the field, ran within 0.017 seconds of the fastest round of the tour, cut 0.029 light but didn’t make it to round two. And that’s in a Four Wide race where you don’t even need to win [the quad] for the next round.
“This is a prime example of where our luck is. Can we be better? Sure you can. By no means have we reached our potential. You can always run better or do a little better at driving, but most of our problems are in the wrong place at the wrong time.” When that happens, you’ll just go back to the batter box and take another swing.”
For all his struggles, Hartford is only 28 points out of the top 10, so it wouldn’t take much to dramatically improve his fortune in this weekend’s NHRA SpringNaitonals Finals.
Friday’s only qualifying round in Houston scored 6,585 which is a case of both good and bad news. On the plus side, Hartford was 0.038sec behind leader Camry Caruso. Then again, his run was only good for a #10 position in what became a stacked Pro Stock field.
“It was loose, to the point where I was thinking about lifting,” Hartford said. “If you look at our graph you will find that the side G gauge is all over the place. This tells me we left a good three hundred on the table. Not sure if we could run with a Camry, but we could easily be in the top five and in this Chapter, I’ll take it.”
When it comes to Houston Raceway Park, Hartford naturally has a lot of great memories, but his desire to compete far outweighs any nostalgic feelings he might have.
“I came here to win and yes, I have a chip on my shoulder,” he says. “I’ve beaten a lot of good cars at this track and there’s no reason to believe we can’t do the same this year. I don’t even feel like I need to qualify well. These days you can win from anywhere on the ladder. We just need some. Things that fall in our way for once.”