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Matt Hartford, partners buy Total Seal, but that won't keep him out of his Pro Stocker

NHRA Pro Stock racer Matt Hartford, who for years has served as the face of Total Seal Piston Rings as its vice president and most visible employee, just completed the purchase of the 52-year-old company and assumed the titles of president and CEO -- none of which will affect his racing plans.
12 Jun 2019
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
News
Matt Hartford

Matt Hartford’s plate just got a little more full.

The fulltime Pro Stock racer, who for years has served as the face of Total Seal Piston Rings as its vice president and most visible employee, just completed the purchase of the 52-year-old company and assumed the titles of president and CEO.

Hartford, a former NHRA Sport Compact Series champion, Sportsman racer, and Pro Stock pilot who last year scored his first career win, joined with investment group partners Promus Equity Partners and Jon S. Vesely to purchase the company. The deal was finalized June 7.

Despite the added responsibilities Hartford says he has no immediate plans to scale back his Pro Stock program. 

“My goal is to win the NHRA Pro Stock world championship in 2019 and then try to back it up in 2020,” said Hartford. “Those are my goals for the next two years and I’ll continue with the same kind of program I have right now.

“I’ve been heavily involved with the day-to-day business at Total Seal for as vice president for the last 10 years,” he added. “We’re going to put a few more key people in positions so that some of my responsibilities will be shifted to other people, but I will have new responsibilities as the CEO and president. At the end of the day, I’ll still work as hard as I ever have; it will just be focused on other areas of work.”

A key part of that hard work will continue to be his at-race presence, interacting with current and future customers.

“Part of why Total Seal is such a great company is because we are out there with the fans and at the racetrack,” he said. “All of our sales staff has been involved in racing is some shape or form and we have a personal connection to what we’re doing.”

Hartford joined Total Seal in 1998 after serving in the U.S. Navy, where he was a nuclear engineer. He competed in the bracket and Sportsman ranks in the late 1990s near his Scottsdale, Ariz., base, then won Sport Compact championships with both the NHRA and IDRC in the early 2000s before making his Pro Stock debut in 2006. Since 2013 he’s run partial schedules between 12-16 events and scored a handful of Top 15 finishes, and this year’s shortened Pro Stock schedule is playing right into his hands. Hartford is currently is sixth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings.

Total Seal was founded by Joe Moriarty Sr. in 1967. Moriarty passed away June 1, 2016, and his son, Joe Jr., took over the business.

"My dad would be pleased that Matt is carrying on Total Seal, maintaining the integrity of the company and furthering our position as the leaders in Piston Ring technology for racing and high-performance markets,” said Joey Moriarty.

"I'm looking forward to continuing our development of the very latest in piston ring designs for the racing and automotive industry,” said Hartford. “We have some very exciting new advancements that will further solidify our leadership position. We’re definitely going to go into growth mode and be very proactive about being more prevalent in the piston-ring industry.

“It’s an exciting new venture for me. I have some great partners to move forward. It’s going to be really good for Total Seal and for our customers and our employees, and hopefully very good for me."

In a statement, Promus Equity Partners and Vesely, Chairman of Total Seal, said, “We’re grateful to partner with Total Seal’s Matt Hartford to position the company for its next chapter with a plan to make ongoing investments in the company to serve our valued customers all over the globe for years into the future. Total Seal has a reputation of leading the industry in all the markets it serves and we are very excited about the future for the company, building on their strengths and expanding their reach.”