NHRA - National Hot Rod Association


When it comes to winning in Houston, Matt Hartford just needs a little good luck

Pro Stock racer Matt Hartford has won two of the last four Houston events but can he win the final one? He certainly thinks so.
23 Apr 2022
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Matt Hartford

Since Matt Hartford has won two of the last four NHRA Pro Stock events held in Houston, it would be reasonable to assume that a return trip to the Lone Star State would help cure whatever issues have held him to just a single round win thus far in 2022.

The problem with that is Hartford doesn’t believe he has a problem other than a simple lack of good old fashioned race day luck. Asked about his struggles, the Total Seal driver quickly offers the following.

“Las Vegas is a great example of what’s going on with us,” Hartford said. “I qualified in the top half of the field, ran within .017-second of the quickest run of the round, and I cut a .029 light but didn’t get to round two. And, that’s at a Four Wide race where you don’t even need to win [the quad] in order to make the next round.

“That’s a prime example of where our luck has been. Could we be better? Of course, you can. By no means have we run up to our potential. You can always make a better run or do a little bit better job of driving, but most of our issues are just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When that happens, you just get back in the batter’s box and take another swing.”

For all his struggles, Hartford is just 28 points out of the Top 10 so it wouldn’t take much for his fortunes to dramatically improve at this weekend’s final NHRA SpringNaitonals.

Friday’s lone qualifying run in Houston netted a 6.585 which was a case of both good and bad news. On the positive side, Hartford was just .038-second behind leader Camrie Caruso. Then again, his run was good for just the No. 10 spot in what has become a stacked Pro Stock field.

“It was loose downtrack, almost to the point where I though about lifting,” Hartford said. “If you look at our graph, the lateral G-meter is all over the place. That tells me that we left a good three hundredths on the table. I’m not sure if we could have run with Camrie, but we could easily be in the Top 5 and in this class, I’ll take it.”

When it comes to Houston Raceway Park, Hartford naturally has a lot of great memories but his desire to be competitive far outweigh whatever nostalgic personal feelings he may have.

“I come 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 think we can’t do the same thing this year. I don’t even feel like I need to qualify well. These days, you can win from any spot on the ladder. We just need to have a few things fall our way for once.”