The 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals is bigger and more impactful than any other drag race on the planet, and in Friday qualifying in Indianapolis – the first session of five allotted for the mega-race – KB Titan Racing (KBT) grabbed hold of the provisional pole in impressive fashion. Matt Hartford, driving the Total Seal CIP 1 Chevrolet Camaro powered by KBT, laid down the quickest pass of the day to land the top spot.
In the lone session on Friday, Hartford raced to a horsepower-laden 6.569-second pass at 209.23 mph for the No. 1 position.
“The Total Seal CIP 1 Camaro is running pretty good right now,” said Hartford, who has one win in two final rounds thus far in 2023 and is in the midst of what has developed as a career year. “I’ve struggled the last few races driving, but we’re going to make up for it at Indy. It’s up to me to drive well because we know we’ve got power, and Sunday Q5, we’re going to see if this thing will hold. I think it will.”
Hartford has been the quickest in qualifying regularly this season, and six times in the first 11 events, he qualified either first or second. If the No. 1 holds through two more days of qualifying, it will be both the fourth of the season for Hartford as well as the fourth of his career.
KB Titan drivers have earned low qualifier awards at six races so far this year, and Hartford is one of three drivers to have done it more than once: he has three, while teammate and points leader Dallas Glenn has two No. 1s. Greg Anderson and Camrie Caruso have also been No. 1 with KBT power this year.
Qualifying will continue on Saturday with two additional sessions, and the final two qualifiers will take place on Sunday to set the field for Monday eliminations at the world’s biggest drag race.
With so many qualifying rounds left to determine the final order, Hartford’s crew chief, Eddie Guarnaccia, was pleased but steady.
“We’ve gotta keep the pace; we just have to keep in that two-hole,” said Guarnaccia, referring to Hartford’s No. 2 stance in the Pro Stock points. “We made a nice run – it coulda been better, but that’s a great start.”