Part-time competitor Joe Hartley said being
Top Fuel’s No. 1 qualifier in front of his hometown crowd with his 4.518-second
elapsed time at 323.12 mph is “overwhelming.”
Hartley, born and reared in
Omaha, lives in Portland, Oregon, where last summer he earned a degree in
mechanical engineering from Portland State University and works as a design
engineer. The team originally was based in Nebraska but moved to Wichita,
Kansas, for a few years, then moved back to Omaha.
And the performance
increase, he said, “comes from never giving up.” But he said clutch and oil
changes the crew made to the car in the offseason have been “significant to the
tune-up.” He also said that the return of Kent Urban from a stint at Kalitta
Motorsports has made a huge difference and contributed to the improved stability
of the team.