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Matt Hartford, KB Titan Retain Provisional Pole on Day Two of the U.S. Nationals

Matt Hartford and his Total Seal CIP 1 Chevrolet Camaro made quite an impression on the first day of the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals, and on Saturday at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, they kept the momentum rolling with preservation of the provisional pole and additional bonus points at the most critical junction of the season.
Powered by KB Titan Racing (KBT), Hartford wheeled his Eddie Guarnaccia-tuned Chevrolet to a stellar 6.569-second pass at 209.23 mph on Friday for four bonus points and the top spot, and on Saturday he powered to a 6.603, 207.18 – low of the round – in the first session. In the later qualifier, his 6.623, 206.35 was the result of a “dead-head” as the transmission failed to shift into fifth gear. Despite the obstacle, Hartford was still one of the quickest that session and claimed two additional bonus points.
“If it had just gone into fifth gear cleanly, I think we’d have had four bonus points there as well,” said Hartford, who went on to address the increasingly warm weather and the resultant rising track temperature. “We made three incredible runs for the conditions. Tomorrow, the weather shows it’s going to be a little worse than today. I think if you can go out there and run .60 or .61, you’re going to have some really good runs. Unless something changes overnight, I see that .56 holding going into Monday.”
The three low qualifier awards that Hartford has so far claimed this year were the first in a career that began in 2006.
“What a difference between then and now,” he said. “In 2006, we were just trying to qualify – and in 2023, we’re sitting as the potential No. 1 qualifier at Indy. It’s a lifelong dream come true. There are only two things that would make this season better: number one to win the championship, and number two winning Indy.”
KB Titan drivers are having a strong start at the U.S. Nationals and have so far claimed 18 of 30 available bonus points at the U.S. Nationals. There are 20 more up for grabs, broken down as follows: four points in each of the remaining sessions go to the quickest driver, three to the second-quickest, two to third, and one to fourth. Hartford has 10 extra marks so far, KBT teammates Kyle Koretsky and Greg Anderson each have three, and points leader Dallas Glenn and Deric Kramer – who overcame a broken wheelie bar that negated his first run – each have one.

Those bonus points are ultra-valuable as drivers jockey for position here at the final race of the regular season. Once the U.S. Nationals has concluded, the positions will be locked and the points reset for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, and Hartford is in prime position to solidify himself as the No. 2 man behind Glenn.
“This is the best chance to win a championship that we’ve ever had,” said Hartford. “We have the team to beat, and the only way to get beat is for us to make a mistake. The pressure is there every single round, so I have to clear my head and not worry about what the points are. I have to go up there, focus on making a clean run, hit my shift points, and leave on time. If I do that, the win lights will turn on.”
KB Titan drivers also competed in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Saturday, which pits the previous event’s semifinalists against one another for redemption and a cash prize. Koretsky and Kramer raced one another in the first round of the two-round challenge, while Glenn squared off with Aaron Stanfield on the other side of the ladder. Koretsky advanced with a 6.603 to Kramer’s 6.648, while Glenn was narrowly defeated on a holeshot, 6.625 to 6.624. Koretsky left first in the final by .004, but Stanfield claimed victory on a 6.630 to 6.644.
Qualifying will continue on Sunday with two final sessions to set the field for the world’s biggest and most prestigious drag race, the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals.

This story was originally published on September 3, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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