Team Aiming for Elusive 2022 Victory in Two October Opportunities
Mechanicsburg, PA – September 28, 2022
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Garry Ferguson / Elite Racing Imagery / WRT Speedwerx
Kody Hartlaub entered the final full month of his 358 sprint car season with the team’s performance trending in the right direction.
The summer had not been terrible by any means, but it was below the bar Hartlaub and his team had set for themselves in the early months of the season. August brought a return of some consistency and a trend toward their early season results.
With some good money on the line in September, they were working hard to continue that trend.
September 2: Match Race / Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA
[37 cars, Heat 1st (2), A-main 4th (3)]
The month opened with the rescheduled Match Race at Williams Grove Speedway, which boasted an increased purse for the 358 sprint cars.
The 25-lap Match Race feature event offered a purse worth over $20,000, with $2,021 going to the winner, while the 24th or final finisher would take home $696. The format for the event had drivers draw for heat race starting positions. The top five finishers in each of the four heats transferred to the A-main, with the top three making the redraw that would line up the first six rows of the feature. The balance of the lineup was set via a heads-up format based on heat finishing position.
Hartlaub powered into the lead at the start of his 8-lap heat race from his outside front row starting spot. He led the race from start to finish, but it wasn’t easy. Veteran Frankie Herr remained within one second of the top spot, waiting for his opportunity, but Hartlaub never flinched and grabbed the win.
The redraw provided Hartlaub with the 3rd starting spot for the 25-lap finale. He held the position until the midpoint of the race when the battle for position heated up.
Hartlaub slipped back to 5th and appeared destined to finish there until the caution flag appeared with two laps remaining. The restart bunched up the field and Hartlaub took advantage of the opportunity, wrestling the 4th spot away from Matt Findley and holding it to the checkered flag.
September 3: Lincoln Speedway / Abbottstown, PA
[26 cars, Heat 3rd (5), A-main 3rd (12)]
Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway, four heats were lined up by pill draw for the 26 teams on hand. The top five finishers transferred directly to the main event, with the top two handicapped by season points to set the top eight starting spots.
Hartlaub started heat number four from inside the third row and quickly went on the offense, snagging the 4th spot on the opening lap and the 3rd spot by lap two. He finished in that spot, unable to get close enough to challenge for the runner up position and a shot at the redraw.
On the outside of the top ten looking in from his 12th starting spot in the 20-lap A-main, Hartlaub wasted no time showing he had a good car late in the night once again.
Hartlaub has passed a lot of cars this season at Lincoln Speedway in feature competition and it was clear early on that this night would be no different. He passed three cars on the opening lap, another the following lap, and two more on lap three.
By lap six Hartlaub was sitting in 4th and had the top spot on the horizon. After laying claim to a podium spot on lap seventeen, he ran out of time and brought home the 3rd place finish.
September 17: Dirty 30 / BAPS Motor Speedway / York Haven, PA
[36 cars, Qualifying 1st, Heat 1st (1), A-main 3rd (7)]
The Dirty 30 358 sprint car event at BAPS Motor Speedway on September 17th offered the top total purse in the region this season for the popular division. The payout attracted a solid field of 36 competitors.
The field was divided into four groups by pill draw. Teams would qualify and heat race within those groups to set the lineup for the first twenty spots for the feature event. The final four spots would come from the B-main.
Hartlaub timed fourth quickest in the his group, claiming the pole for the heat race by way of an invert. He went on to dominate the 8-lap qualifier, winning by 3.3 seconds over Frankie Herr.
Hartlaub rolled to the green flag to start the 30-lap main event in the 7th position. Using a careful but aggressive effort in the early going, he proceeded to pick off a position every few laps, reaching 4th by lap six.
From that point on, the gains became more challenging. Hartlaub turned to a workmanlike effort to focus on gaining ground and closing the gap in front of him. It took nearly 15 laps, but he finally raced his way into 3rd.
Kody then set his sights on the runner up spot and was just 0.766 seconds from that goal when the laps ran out. The podium finish earned Hartlaub $1,500 for his efforts.
“I had not been here (BAPS Motor Speedway) in about four years. It took a little while to get comfortable again and figure out how to get around this place. I tried to not take big risks by flirting with the wall in (turns) one and two. The middle was working well for me, so I stuck with it. Pretty happy to get a podium finish with the good field of cars we had here tonight.“, Hartlaub commented.
September 23: Williams Grove Speedway / Mechanicsburg, PA
[35 cars, Heat 2nd (5), A-main 8th (8)]
For last Friday night’s 358 sprint car season finale at Williams Grove Speedway, heat lineups for the 35 cars signed in were set by pill draw. The top five finishers from each of the four 8-lap contests would transfer directly to the A-main. All non-transfer cars would get one additional shot to make the show via the B-main. The feature lineup would be ‘heads up’ in finishing order from the heat races, followed by the top four finishers from the B-main.
Hartlaub’s pill draw placed him in the 5th starting spot in heat race number four. He only needed to maintain position during the 8-lap contest to transfer, but every position earned in the heat race would move him four spots further up the feature lineup board.
Wasting no time, Hartlaub charged into 3rd on the opening lap and climbed to 2nd on lap two. The progress stopped there as he was unable to chase down leader Cameron Smith who went on to win the race by nearly five seconds.
The forward progress in the heat race was huge, as it moved Hartlaub from what would have been a 20th starting spot (had he finished 5th) to the 8th starting spot. The 20-lap finale was a heated battle in heavy traffic from start to finish. Unable to find the right combination to move forward toward a fourth top-5 in four races, Hartlaub hovered around 7th and 8th throughout the event and ultimately finished a very respectable 8th.
“The track had a curb tonight. That’s something we haven’t seen much this year, so we didn’t have many notes to help us decide how to approach it. We were too tight. I don’t have much experience on a surface like this either. I tried changing my line from the top to the bottom but the car wouldn’t rotate like I needed it to.“, Hartlaub shared.
Prior to racing action for the 35 cars on hand, Hartlaub was presented with Williams Grove’s 358 sprint car Rookie of the Year award.
Hartlaub finished the year 5th in the season championship point standings at Williams Grove Speedway, 2nd in the 358 Summer Series points, and currently sits 2nd in Lincoln Speedway’s title chase.
It seems there is just one box left for Hartlaub to check in 2022. It’s the box next to the big “W”; a feature win. Hartlaub has been one of the most consistent performers on the Central Pennsylvania 358 sprint car circuit this year. With only four finishes outside the top ten in 21 races, and each of those still inside the top fifteen, the East Berlin (PA) driver has been knocking on the door all season long.
That door just hasn’t opened yet to let Hartlaub’s Brewer Home Improvements / Moose Blocks / Smith Titanium / SRR Engines / Siegel Racing / T and N Solutions / Jason Emlet Iron Valley Real Estate / Bigham Appraisals / Pretzel Boy / HAAS Shocks / C.H. Folk & Son Feeds / Chop Designs / Herr Electric, Hartlaub Racing No.2 in.
“We’re really happy with our season. We’ve accomplished a lot of good things and learned a lot along the way. It sure would be nice to get a win though. That would be the icing on the cake.“, Hartlaub said.
Two chances remain on Hartlaub’s 2022 schedule, both at Lincoln Speedway. Saturday, October 8th will be a regular show for the 358 sprint cars, then the season will conclude the following Saturday with the final points race on October 15th.
21 races, 0 wins, 10 top 5’s, 17 top 10’s, 21 top 15’s
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