Chicago: Tom Martino finds the handle, but loses a close one

Heading into Sunday's final eliminations of the Prestone Route 66 Nationals, Tom Martino and the CENTURY 21 Pro Stock Firebird Racing Team were facing a dilemma. Qualifying in the tenth position, they fought to find the consistency necessary to...

Heading into Sunday's final eliminations of the Prestone Route 66 Nationals, Tom Martino and the CENTURY 21 Pro Stock Firebird Racing Team were facing a dilemma. Qualifying in the tenth position, they fought to find the consistency necessary to challenge for the win. After rain delayed the start of racing by more than an hour, Martino grabbed the advantage at the start and never looked back in eliminating Terry Adams in the first round. Martino then faced second qualifier Troy Coughlin. Despite not having the luxury of lane choice, Martino recorded his best pass of the weekend at 6.885 seconds with a top speed of 199.05 mph. Even though Martino's time was nearly three hundredths of a second quicker than Coughlin's, it was not enough to overcome his opponent's starting line advantage, prematurely ending the Farmingdale, NJ driver's day. "Although it's tough to lose the way we did, we can take some consolation in that we seem to have the CENTURY 21 Firebird back on track. Quite honestly, we didn't make what I would consider a good run in qualifying or today's first round. We kept making adjustments, but we weren't seeing any improvement. We were fortunate enough to have the horsepower to get away with it. But after we beat Terry Adams in the first round, we knew we couldn't win with that set-up, so we overhauled the car between rounds. We changed the tires, gear ratios and suspension.

"The end result is that we made our best pass of weekend. It may have had a little left in it, but overall it was a really good run. Unfortunately, the other guy cut a great light, and our weekend was over. Even so, we did manage to qualify and win a round when we were fighting the car. I think that says a lot about this CENTURY 21 team. With what we did today, I feel a whole lot better going into Columbus."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Tom Martino , Terry Adams