A strong weekend got even better for Pro Stock’s Matt Hartford, as the veteran claimed his first career No. 1 qualifier with a run of 6.599 at 206.45 in his Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro. Hartford, who is making his 161st career start this season, put down a pair of strong passes on Saturday, vaulting him into the top position for the first time and adding another impressive moment in what has been a strong start to his 2023 season.
The only thing missing is a victory on Sunday, something Hartford will aim to change this weekend and possibly move into the points lead for the first time in his career. His opening-round quad includes Jerry Lee Tucker, Camrie Caruso and Erica Enders, who swept both Las Vegas races last year.
“This is awesome for our entire team. We’ve been working on this since 2006 and it’s been a long time coming,” Hartford said. “Some of these people come out here and within first few races get a number one and we always just watch and go well someday we’ll get it. But it’s hats off to having a great team around me and a great racecar. We just keep our heads down and keep focused on one run at a time.
“There was a time we were 16th and just overjoyed. It’s just a different mindset as you progress through the sport. We’ve come from the bottom and we’ve worked our way up. We have a fast car right now. Our whole goal is to turn this yellow (No. 1 qualifier) hat into a blue (winner’s) hat and then turn that into a white (world champion) hat.”
Current points leader Dallas Glenn, who was the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday, took the second spot with a 6.610 at 205.65 and Aaron Stanfield took third in qualifying on the strength of his 6.614 at 206.95.
Eliminations for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip begin at 12 p.m. PT on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.