For Harold Martin, Racing is More About Relationships, with a "Family Reunion" planned this weekend in Cayuga
On the outside, competition in the Hooters Drag Racing Series would seem to center around numbers and statistics, whether it involves elapsed time, top speed, championship standings or elimination round records. Although his competitive desire is as fierce as anyone in the pit area, there is another aspect to which ACDelco Pro Mod pilot Harold Martin assigns equal importance, namely the relationships one fosters throughout the course of the year.
Starting with the special bond he has developed with his father and son through his involvement in racing, the highly regarded Martin has worked hard to create close ties with the fans, fellow competitors and sponsor representatives.
"Racing is so much more than simple statistics," stated Martin. "Certainly, we focus on the task at hand, and try our best to succeed every time we are on the track. I am also devoted to bring whatever innovations I can to the sport, as well as leading the way for others to follow. However, it is the relationships we establish along the way that provide the largest and longest lasting benefit.
"For example, at the most recent event in Milan, I had the pleasure of having one of my mentors, Dick Aarons, show up at the race track. He was a key figure in the Booth and Aarons organization who was one of the premier race teams in the 60's and 70's. When I was a teenager, I did whatever I could to work for them and get an understanding of what they did. Therefore, it was extremely gratifying to hear him praise me for my efforts.
"In addition, at every venue that we go to, fans continue to show an appreciation and love for who Harold Martin Racing is, and what he stands for, which is really wonderful. It's a rewarding feeling to have someone walk from the opposite side of the track just to shake your hand and congratulate you on your efforts.
"I think a lot of this is an accreditation of my dad and the type of person he is. One of his greatest assets is his ability to get along with people from all walks of life, and I credit him with instilling this philosophy in me. Therefore, I decided early on in my career that I wanted to take it to the next level and be someone who was thought of not only as articulate, but also friendly and encouraging to others, who might be willing to motivate others to pursue successes in the paths they were pursuing."
This weekend, the "EFI Wizard" will have the opportunity to greet many familiar faces, as the IHRA makes its annual visit to Toronto Motorsports Park. With over 800 ACDelco employees and customers expected throughout the weekend, one would easily understand if Martin and his crew might feel some added pressure to perform. However, bolstered by their No. 1 qualifying performance and runner-up finish from two weeks ago, as well as the anticipation of renewing friendships developed over the event's five-year history, they arrive in Cayuga with great anticipation.
"As we approach this weekend's ACDelco Canadian Nationals, one of the things that is clear to me is that the people ACDelco has on board are really good people who are committed to selling their product," said Martin. "I've had the opportunity to spend time with them on a one-on-one basis on many occasions, ranging from national sales conventions to actually visiting their sites. To that extent, they have become friends and part of our extended family.
"Therefore, I view this event as more of a family reunion, and one that I look forward to every year. I don't see it as a situation with added pressure as much as an opportunity to perform at a high level in front of some great friends. This race may be just one of twelve on the schedule, but the people involved are an extension of what we do throughout the year, and we welcome the chance to reward them with a win at their race."