Steady Performances and Resilience Propel Team to the Top
Abbottstown, PA – May 5, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Jeremy Zarfos Photography
Kody Hartlaub has had a solid start to his 358 sprint car season, but it certainly hasn’t been dull or easy.
After five races at Lincoln Speedway, in only his second full season, Hartlaub finds himself atop the season point standings in a highly competitive division, but he and his team have had to overcome challenges to get to where they are.
April 9th: Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
(28 cars, Heat 3rd, A-main 9th)
Beginning with the April 9th show, with two prior events in the books, Lincoln Speedway moved into their handicapping format for the 358 sprint cars. In this format, heat races are lined up by random draw. The top two finishers from each heat race become part of the handicapped group. Members of that group are lined up in the front rows of the feature based on their season points average, with the lowest average starting on the pole.
Four 10-lap heats were set for the 28 teams on hand. Hartlaub rolled off 7th in the final heat race but surged into 4th by the end of the first circuit. He methodically worked his way into 3rd on lap seven and then set his sights on reaching the valuable runner up spot. Although he was pressuring 2nd place Nash Ely, Hartlaub ran out of time.
Hartlaub started mid-pack (12th) in the 20-lap A-main. While he was able to move into 11th early in the race, the car just didn’t have much more in it on this night. Thanks to a little attrition, Hartlaub gained a couple more spots and came home 9th in the Brewer Home Improvements / Moose Blocks / Smith Titanium / SRR Engines / Siegel Racing / T&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.
April 16th: Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
(31 cars, Heat 4th, A-main 4th)
Mid-April brought 31 cars to Lincoln Speedway. Once again four 10-lap heats were lined up by the pill draw and once again Kody Hartlaub found himself in the final heat race of the day. He lined up 5th and quickly made a move into 3rd when the race went green.
As Hartlaub worked to find his way into a coveted top-2 handicap spot prior to the race’s midpoint, he ripped a tear-off from his helmet. Unfortunately the right mounting post was loose and all the tear-offs released in a single pull, leaving him with no way to get clear visibility. Instead of moving forward, Hartlaub found himself slipping backwards. He hung on to finish 4th.
“Wiping the visor with my gloves only made visibility worse. I could see well enough to survive and not endanger myself or anyone else, but I couldn’t run hard and be aggressive.“, Hartlaub explained.
The snafu during qualifying put Hartlaub deep in the field for the 20-lap A-main. These kinds of nights usually go one of two ways. In some cases, a driver will finish poorly and write the night off to tough luck. In other cases, a driver uses the opportunity to show his team and the fans they should never count him out. The latter seems to fit Hartlaub.
Starting 16th, he was on a mission from the drop of the green. The East Berlin, PA resident charged through the field, reaching the top-10 by lap 5 and the top-5 by lap 13. By the time the checkers waived, Hartlaub had reached 4th.
There were plenty of smiles in the Hartlaub pits following the effort. Not only was it an impressive run that salvaged what could have been a disappointing night thanks to a fluke helmet issue, Kody had taken over the top spot in the season point standings.
April 30th: Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
(29 cars, Heat 2nd, A-main 12th)
The final April event for the 358 sprint cars at Lincoln Speedway brought yet another deep field, this time 29 cars. As had become the norm this season the night would consist of four 10-lap heats with the top 2 entering the handicap.
The one thing Kody Hartlaub can’t seem to get to go his way so far this year is his pill draw. Once again, he found himself in the back half of the starting lineup for his heat race. He was up to the challenge though, working his way up from his 6th starting spot and into 2nd.
With his best A-main starting spot secured since opening night back in March, Hartlaub was eyeing his first podium finish since then as well. Unfortunately on lap two he became a victim collected by an incident in front of him.
Hartlaub’s machine suffered damage to the nerf bar, wing and headers. Amazingly his team, with help from competitors, was able to bolt on new headers and make repairs on the other damage in time to allow Hartlaub to rejoin the rear of the field for the restart. He was able to climb nine spots in the remaining laps, salvaging a 12th place finish.
“I think we were definitely a top-5 car tonight, probably even a podium car, if we hadn’t gotten caught up in that early crash. That’s racing. It happens. I have to thank my team and the others who pitched in to get us fixed up and back out there. Really proud of my team.“, Hartlaub commented. “We were able to get back out there, gain some spots and save our night from being a total loss. That could be big when we get down to the end of the season (in points).”
Eleven scheduled races remain for the 358 sprints at Lincoln Speedway in 2022. The points championship is likely to be a great battle to the end among numerous teams.
“We’ve been building the depth of our program. That’s another important part of competing for points. First it was just trying to have two of each critical part. Now we are in the process of preparing a second car and motor so we’re not at risk of missing any races if we run into issues. “, Hartlaub shared.
Victory has eluded Hartlaub and his team thus far in 2022, but their steady performances and ability to recover from setbacks, would indicate that’s a goal they will reach.
Hartlaub tentatively has Path Valley Speedway Park (PA) on his schedule for May 14th. Stay tuned to Kody Hartlaub Racing or Addicted2Dirt PR on social media for updates closer to race day.
The next firm plan for the team is the 358 Summer series event on May 21st at Lincoln Speedway (PA), which will also be Kid’s Night featuring Big Wheel races.
5 races, 0 wins, 3 top 5’s, 4 top 10’s, 5 top 15’s
As always, thank you to all our sponsors and partners, including our silent partners who do everything they can to help but ask for nothing in return! Below are the businesses…the people…the families…that make what these teams do possible. PLEASE take the time to browse this information and help the teams by giving your business to these partners.
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Brewer Home Improvements, LLC
Jason Emlet Iron Valley Real Estate
C. H. Folk & Son Feeds
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