Las Vegas II: Martino elimination day recap

Martino Moments Final results from the AC Delco NHRA Nationals Martino's Vegas roll ends in 2nd round Date: Sunday, October 8, 2001 Location: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV Throughout qualifying, the message was made ...

Martino Moments
Final results from the AC Delco NHRA Nationals

Martino's Vegas roll ends in 2nd round

Date: Sunday, October 8, 2001
Location: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV

Throughout qualifying, the message was made clear in the Pro Stock pits that lane choice could be a deciding factor in Sunday's final eliminations of the AC Delco NHRA Nationals. The first round proved this to be the case, as all eight wins went to those in the left lane, the preferred side for those who had the luxury of choosing. Among those advancing to the quarter-finals was CENTURY 21 Grand Am pilot Tom Martino, who combined a strong .438 reaction time with a 7.018-second elapsed time to defeat Kurt Johnson. However, for his second round match-up with No. 1 qualifier Jim Yates, Martino would find himself in the dreaded right lane, as his opponent's first round e.t. was quicker than the New Jersey native's.

Knowing he would need every advantage, Martino used another solid reaction time to leave nearly three hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent. However, it became apparent that Martino had his hands full, fighting to keep his car in the racing groove. The time lost with these maneuvers proved to be the difference, as Yates was able to overcome the Martino's lead and cut his day short.

"Our chances of winning went out in the first round when we lost lane choice. If we had made a better run against K.J., I think we probably would have beaten Jim. We also underestimated the track, and just didn't make enough changes.

"I got a good jump on him at the start, but it washed out almost immediately and went to the right. It then shook the tires in second gear, which caused it to shoot to the left. I tried to get it back in the groove, but just wouldn't go there, and fishtailed the rest of the way down the track, which we confirmed by looking at the lateral g meter after the run. For all that, I'm happy that it ran as well as it did.

"We have one more race to go, and I'm pretty sure we'll be in the hunt there. I'd certainly like to win one more for CENTURY 21. After that, we'll have the whole winter to get this Grand Am fully sorted out, and I'm confident of being a Top Five car in 2002."

-MM-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Tom Martino