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Hartman Wins at 85!

By Pilar Martin  August 2nd, 2015At 85 year of age, Chester Hartman wins the 2015 Harvey County Demo DerbyAt 85 year of age, Chester Hartman wins the 2015 Harvey County Demo Derby
NEWTON – For only the second time in a career that spans 51 years, Chet Hartman took first place at the Harvey County Fair’s Demolition Derby on Sunday night.
Hartman turned 85 the very next day. Hartman has been in 134 demolition derbies, he said, competing at the Hutchinson State Fair, McPherson, Marion and Harvey County Fairs over the years.
Hartman said this year everything was different. In the past there have been heats, consolation matches and then the final race. This year, there were no heats, only two stock divisions and a figure eight race. He won the first stock race of the evening.
Hartman used the same car this year that he used last year; a 1994 Ford Crown Victoria. In last year’s competition, Hartman took sixth in the main event.
Hartman get hit early, losing his helmet.Hartman get hit early, losing his helmet.Friends at E.V. Motors – Andrew and Jerry Kepley – helped Hartman with maintenance and improvement on his car from last year. They also serve as his pit crew during races.  In last year’s race, Hartman blew a radiator hose and the engine got too hot. They worked on the car over the winter improving it. This is the first fuel-injected car Hartman has ever used and some of the computerized features had to be over-ridden, he said. And Hartman wasn’t very confident going into Sunday’s race. “The other nine in my race were younger than me; everyone’s younger. They spend more time and money on their cars than I can. I didn’t think I could win,” Hartman said.
Hartman rammed and hit the competition, until only he was left in the area; his car still running as he drove it out. Hartman Receives The Winning Flag and Handshake Hartman Receives The Winning Flag and Handshake
“I got hit so hard one time, my helmet flew off,” he said. Although he can’t hear much in the car, he was told the crowd was cheering wildly for  him.
Hartman hasn’t given up participating in demolition derbies either. He decides after almost each race these days, that it will be his last. “I had new batteries put in my pacemaker a couple of years ago and I’m going to keep going,” he added.
You can see Hartman and his winning No. 85 car in the Old Settler’s Grand Parade on Saturday morning in Halstead.  Visit the Demo Derby Photo Gallery