U.S. Nationals Spotlight: Matt Hartford

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Matt Hartford, who wears the No. 5 on his Chevrolet Pro Stocker, blazed into 2020 with a ridiculous 6.460-second pass at the World Doorslammer Nationals in February. It was the quickest pass in the history of EFI, though unofficial as it was recorded at a non-NHRA sanctioned event. The pre-season event in Orlando was a strong start for Hartford, who has claimed a round win at all but one race this year. He’s No. 9 in the Pro Stock standings heading into the 66th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals, and his KB Racing-powered Camaro has been picking up steam.

Hartford was just .004-second behind Greg Anderson (who claimed low elapsed time of the round) in the final qualifying session at the Indy Nationals last month. For the effort, Hartford picked up a pair of bonus qualifying points and a start from the top half of the field – plus a little bit of momentum.

“We know we have a good car, and one that could have gone to the pole at the last race,” he said. “We have something.”

Hartford has enough experience in the sport to be a fair judge of what’s to come – for as much as you can actually predict anything in drag racing. The Phoenix resident’s experience extends through various classes – including five raucous years in the now-defunct Sport Compact series – and his various accolades include the 2009 ADRL Mountain Motor championship.

IMG_6098“After we won the ADRL championship, we were offered an opportunity to go back the following year for a chance to repeat – but I wanted to focus on [NHRA] Comp and Pro Stock,” explained Hartford, then grinned. “Honestly, I didn’t want everyone to know whether it was luck or if I was just that good. I think I was just lucky.”

To this day, Hartford enjoys watching the Mountain Motor Pro Stock cars.

“It wouldn’t take too much temptation to get me back in one of those,” he admitted.

For now, though, he’s more than content with his current gig – especially this weekend as he takes to the track at one of the most historic races on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour in his Pro Stock car managed by longtime crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia.

“I remember watching Lee Shepherd and Bob Glidden race in the finals here in the early 1980s,” recalled Hartford. “I knew then that I wanted to race Pro Stock someday, and the U.S. Nationals is the one everyone wants to win. To have the opportunity to race here with a real chance of putting our Total Seal/CIP1 Chevy Camaro in the winner’s circle, it’s just a dream come true.”

Detailed results at DragRace Central.

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