Preparation Key to Becoming a Contender
Abbottstown, PA – April 6, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Michael Zortman
Two races may not be enough to draw a conclusion, but if the first two 358 sprint car races of the 2022 season at Lincoln Speedway are any indication, Kody Hartlaub is going to be a factor there all year long.
Much like football when a team’s plus/minus turnover ratio is a great indicator of how good a team is, Hartlaub’s plus/minus in four total events (two heats and two features), is indicative of how good he has been. He has advanced from his starting spot in all four events, netting +8 positions.
March 19th: Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
(30 cars, Heat 2nd, A-main 2nd)
The season debut for the 358 sprint cars at Lincoln Speedway drew 30 teams out of their winter hibernation, anxious to get back to racing. A random pill draw set the lineups for four 10-lap heat races. The top five finishers from each transferred directly to the A-main, but only the top two would earn a spot in the redraw for a spot in the first four rows of the night’s finale.
Hartlaub wasted no time shaking the offseason rust, charging from 5th to 2nd by the time three laps were in the books. He was able to maintain his position and claim a redraw spot in his Brewer Home Improvements / Moose Blocks / Smith Titanium / SRR Engines / Siegel Racing / T and N Solutions / Jason Emlet Iron Valley Real Estate / Bingham Appraisals / Pretzel Boy / HAAS Shocks / C.H. Folk & Son Feeds / Chop Designs / Herr Electric, Hartlaub Racing No.2.
The redraw was friendly to Hartlaub, providing him with the 3rd starting spot for the 20-lap main event. Kody held a firm grasp on the runner-up spot throughout the event. He had leader Matt Findley in his sights but couldn’t quite challenge him, flashing under the checkered flag less than one second behind Findley’s No.28.
“I felt like we were good enough to win. The track slicked off more than we expected. We tightened up a little, but maybe not enough. I was catching Matt (Findley) in lapped traffic, but after the caution he had clear track in front of him”, Hartlaub said.
He continued. “Over the offseason, I told myself not to be content this year. Last year I would settle in and not push hard enough sometimes. This year I want to be more aggressive and make sure I get everything out of the car that it has to give, but in our first race of the year I thought I had to be smart. You don’t want to tear your stuff up on the first night“, Hartlaub said, describing the mental tug of war drivers go through when they don’t have unlimited resources.
Kody feels he and his team are much better prepared in 2022. Even little things like being better stocked on parts at the track and having a white board in the trailer so they can make notes to prevent forgetting important information. Those little things paid off immediately when the team had to replace the MSD ignition box after hot laps.
April 2nd: Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
(30 cars, Heat 2nd, A-main 5th)
The 358 sprint cars returned to Lincoln Speedway on April 2nd, once again 30-strong in the pits and once again employing the same qualifying format.
Hartlaub lined up 4th for his heat race and bolted into 2nd early in the race, claiming a redraw spot for the second consecutive outing. The redraw was a little less friendly on this night though, with the East Berlin resident pulling the seven pill, placing him inside row four for the 20-lap main event.
After initially settling into 7th, Hartlaub moved into 6th on lap six but at the halfway point, slipped back into 7th. That didn’t last long though, as Hartlaub battled his way past two cars, including last week’s winner Matt Findley, to take over the 5th position. Kody held that position for the final eight circuits, securing his second top-5 in as many outings.
“It’s been really satisfying to see everything we worked so hard on over the offseason paying off like it has. I’ve challenged myself to minimize mistakes behind the wheel and I feel like I’ve accomplished that so far. We’re really happy with two top-5’s but we won’t start looking ahead. We will just keep building on this week by week and do our best each time out. If we do that, the stats will take care of themselves”, Hartlaub commented.
Hartlaub currently sits in a tie with Cameron Smith for 2nd in Lincoln Speedway’s season championship point standings. The pair trail only Matt Findley in what is expected to be an interesting battle all the way to the final points race on October 15th.
Kody Hartlaub Racing will be at Lincoln Speedway three more times during the month of April, with 358 sprint events scheduled on the 9th, 16th and 30th.
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