Hartfield wins initial Mini Stocks championship

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Nuevo’s Michael Hartfield, left, is the division champion in the Mini Stocks at Perris Auto Speedway. Doug Allen/PAS photo

Last year Perris Auto Speedway initiated its four-cylinder Mini Stocks class during the middle of the season, so there was no season championship. This year the Mini Stocks ran a full season, and Michael Hartfield was the division champion.

“I’m still kind of excited about this whole win,” Hartfield said. “It’s a blessing.”

Hartfield, a 2008 Paloma Valley High School graduate who moved from Menifee to Nuevo about four years ago, accumulated 363 position points during the season which consisted of seven races. Temecula driver Alan Mahoney was second with 354 points. Hartfield had four main event wins including the final race of the season, Sept. 28.

“My goal was to go out there and to have a good time with my brother and my girlfriend,” Hartfield said. “Getting the championship was just a bonus.”

Hartfield’s brother, Joseph Hartfield, finished fourth in the season standings with 270 points. Elizabeth Conway is Michael Hartfield’s girlfriend, and she completed the season with 255 points for sixth place in the final standings.

Perris Auto Speedway opened in 1996.

“I’ve been going there since I was a kid,” Hartfield, a lifelong Riverside County resident who was raised in Menifee, said.

That included demolition derby contests at the Southern California Fair. Hartfield also enjoyed the Modified races at Perris.

“That’s what really got me into it,” he said. “I got myself a modified also and I raced there.”

Hartfield didn’t acquire his modified until this April, but he made his Modified debut May 4 and was in the main event two of the four nights he raced in that division.

“Never raced that class my entire life,” he said.

The first Mini Stocks race at Perris was July 28, 2018. The Mini Stocks are part of the Night of Destruction races which also include Figure 8, Trailer Figure 8 and Demo Cross competition. Homeland resident Garrett McCourt, who is one of Hartfield’s friends, drives in Demo Cross races and helped build Hartfield’s first Mini Stocks car.

“I’ve been hooked since,” Hartfield said.

Hartfield used a 2005 Toyota Corolla for last year’s races. He drove in the division’s July 28 heat race but was unable to run in that night’s main event. He finished fourth in the Sept. 1, 2018, main event.

“I came back this year, built me a different car,” Hartfield said.

The Hondas tended to be the fastest Mini Stocks cars, so Hartfield converted a 1998 Honda Prelude into a racecar. His brother and girlfriend were also involved.

“We built a car all together,” Hartfield said.

Joseph Hartfield and Conway also had cars for the 2019 season; Joseph Hartfield drove a Ford Focus wagon and Conway was behind the wheel of a 2001 Honda Prelude.

“It’s hard to put a price tag on happiness,” Michael Hartfield said. “Being able to not get a ticket for going fast, it’s fun.”

This year’s first Night of Destruction races took place Feb. 23. Hartfield finished fourth in the Mini Stocks main event and his brother took sixth place.

Hartfield won the April 27 main event with his brother finishing third and Conway crossing the checkered flag in eighth place. Hartfield was the seventh driver to finish in the next Mini Stocks race June 1, but he won the next two main events. His July 4 win was complemented by Conway’s third-place finish, and they also finished first and third respectively in the Sept. 28 main event. Conway finished fifth when Hartfield won the July 27 feature.

“I just want to thank my family for the support and my business for helping with letting me use the shop for my car when it’s broken,” Hartfield said.

Top Tech Auto in Menifee was founded by Hartfield’s father, Joe, in 1991. All three sons of “Papa Joe” also now work at Top Tech Auto. Michael Hartfield is a smog technician who is responsible for the Top Tech Smog operation, and he also performs automotive repairs for Top Tech Auto.

Air and Hose Source, Campos Materials, and Industrial Machine and Weld are also all Menifee businesses and are Hartfield’s sponsors in addition to Top Tech Auto. Conway was Hartfield’s primary pit crew member this year.

“I want to thank Perris Auto Speedway for putting on this race for us,” Hartfield said.

Hartfield added his appreciation to the Perris fans for their support.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.