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Thu, 3 Sep 2009, 07:30 PM

Matt Hartford Joins Busy Nitro Fish Team for U.S. Nationals
Courtesy of Joe Sherk

CLERMONT, Ind. -- What do Dave Northrop, Matt Hartford, Angie McBride, Matt Smith, Kyle Koretsky and Ray Fordyce have in common?

They all will be decked out in Kenny Koretsky's Nitro Fish Wear colors while competing for U.S. Nationals victories in the 55th edition of NHRA's oldest, most prestigious event at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

Northrop, of Perkasie, Pa., will drive the Nitro Fish Pro Stock Pontiac GXP while Hartford, of Phoenix, Ariz., steps into the Nitro Fish Pro Stock Dodge. McBride returns to NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition aboard the Nitro Fish Buell and Smith rides the Don Schumacher Racing Nitro Fish Suzuki.

Kyle Koretsky, Kenny's youngest son, is in his second NHRA Competition Eliminator race, driving the Nitro Fish Super Modified Chevy Cavalier of Mike Iacono. Fordyce drives the Nitro Fish Super Comp dragster. Nitro Fish is also an associate sponsor of Tony Pedregon, the Funny Car points leader.

"That's a lot of drivers out there racing for us," said Koretsky. "We hope to get Nitro Fish into the winner's circle on Monday."

Pro Stock crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia ran the two Pro Stock cars through test sessions Tuesday and Wednesday in St. Louis.

"We had a motor issue with Dave's car and we shipped it back to Bob Book's shop to see if he could do a quick fix on it," Guarnaccia said Thursday. "Right now, we are waiting to see what our options are."

"It's too bad because we were making progress with the car," said a disappointed Northrop.

Hartford, meanwhile, was happy to make seven laps in his new ride before U.S. Nationals qualifying begins Friday night.

"I thought testing went very well," he said. "It felt good to be back in a car with a 500-cubic inch motor. I've been running ADRL races all season and those cars have 800-cubic inch engines. The cars are totally different to drive - different shift points and clutch-pedal feel when staging.

"I got comfortable in the car and now we hope to qualify."

"He did a good job of getting acclimated to the car," said Guarnaccia. "We were fortunate to be able to make a lot of runs in the two days.

"I look forward to running the car at Indy."

This will be McBride's fifth race of the season. She will be running a new Karl Klement motor, one that Smith, her fiance, built. "I am really excited to be riding the Nitro Fish Pro Stock Motorcycle again. "I went to the semifinals in my last two races and now we'd like to win the U.S. Nationals, our biggest, most important race of the year."

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