The Lane Automotive/CAP Team Sweeps the Field at Norwalk A second consecutive win and two firsts make the race special for Bobby Martin Milford, Michigan -- It's late in the evening, June 29th, 2008. Summit Motorsports Park, in Norwalk, Ohio,...
The Lane Automotive/CAP Team Sweeps the Field at Norwalk
A second consecutive win and two firsts make the race special for Bobby Martin
Milford, Michigan -- It's late in the evening, June 29th, 2008. Summit Motorsports Park, in Norwalk, Ohio, is just about deserted. The NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals race is over. A few teams are still waiting their turn in the NHRA Winner's Circle or packing up to leave. Not Bobby Martin. He's in the Winner's Circle, with the Frank and Dan Parker-prepared Lane Automotive/CAP Dodge Charger R/T. It's the second consecutive win for the team in two weeks.
This visit to the Winner's Circle is special to Martin, for it represents a milestone, not just a win. After racing Top Alcohol Funny Cars for eighteen years, Martin has his first NHRA national event number one qualifying position and race win. For Frank and Dan Parker, owners and crew chiefs of the Mopar Hemi-powered car, Martin's achievement was expected. "We've known and watched Bobby for years," said Dan Parker, the team patriarch. "He's become skilled and track-wise from running his own car, but doing everything himself was a distraction. We just knew that, if we could hook up and take some load off his shoulders, he would really shine on the track."
The alcohol cars managed one qualifying run Friday, before all sessions were cancelled due to water seeping onto the track. In that session, a minor engine gremlin stuck the Dodge Charger R/T on the bubble, in sixteenth. To make up time, NHRA allowed only one chance to qualify on Saturday morning. Martin turned that round into a drag racer's dream, by jumping from sixteenth to number one. With the Parkers massaging the engine, and Martin massaging the throttle, the Lane Automotive/CAP Dodge Charger R/T secured the pole with a 5.645 second elapsed time at 255.63 miles per hour.
In Saturday's first elimination round, Martin's reaction time was almost two-tenths of a second better than his opponent's. The run produced an elapsed time of 5.679 at 256.11 mph. The second round, on Sunday morning, was a "bye," when the opposition couldn't make it to the starting line. Rather than taking it easy, Martin planted his right foot and ripped off a solo 5.626 and 258.02 pass -- the quickest of the event, at the time. The third round gave the team a start when their good friend, Andy Bohl, beat the Lane Automotive/CAP driver off the line. But Bohl's traction then went up in smoke and Martin cruised to a foot-down 5.630, 257.73 win.
In the final round, Martin was up against Steve Harker's Monte Carlo. Harker had topped Martin's quickest event pass, in an earlier round, and was now looking for Martin himself. But Martin reacted five one-thousandths of second faster than Harker and beat the Monte Carlo to the win light. The 5.624/256.84 last run of the weekend was a near-mirror image of Martin's short-lived quickest pass of the event. Harker trailed at 5.629 and 256.60 mph. The margin of victory ran out to the fourth decimal point, .0102, which translates to a lead of approximately four feet.
In the Winner's Circle, daylight could be seen between Bobby Martin's feet and the ground. "This win is something I've looked forward to for many years. Describing my emotions, right now, is pretty darned hard," he said. "My family has supported me all along and I'm so happy they're here to share this experience. Frank and Dan's family is here, too, and they are just as excited. We got to the Winner's Circle together and we're all celebrating together."
This win moves Martin up to sixteenth in NHRA's National Top Alcohol Funny Car standings. He is holding NHRA's Division 3 number two spot. ESPN2 will broadcast NHRA Summit Racing Nationals Sportsman highlights on July 5 at 11:00 am. The next race for the Lane Automotive/CAP Top Alcohol Funny Car team is Division 3's Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Columbus, July 25 - 27. The National Trail Raceway event will also be the make-up site for the rained out May 16 -- 18 LODRS event. Needless to say, the Lane Automotive/CAP team is looking forward to twin wins.