Phoenix: Martino Moments - race recap

Martino Moments Final qualifying results from the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals Elusive Phoenix tune-up cuts Martino's weekend short Date: Saturday, February 23, 2002 Location: Firebird International Raceway, Chandler, AZ Entering ...

Martino Moments
Final qualifying results from the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals

Elusive Phoenix tune-up cuts Martino's weekend short

Date: Saturday, February 23, 2002
Location: Firebird International Raceway, Chandler, AZ

Entering Saturday's final qualifying sessions for the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, Jesel Motorsports Grand Am pilot Tom Martino faced a tough challenge. Sitting in the sixteenth and final qualifying position after carding a 6.935-second elapsed time on Friday, the Farmingdale, NJ native knew improvement would be necessary in order to race in Sunday's final eliminations.

Complicating Martino's assignment even further were Saturday's overcast skies and cooler temperatures which created completely different tuning conditions for the naturally-aspirated "factory hot rods". Despite the Martino team's best efforts, the secret to conquering the tricky Firebird Raceway surface eluded them, and the conclusion of qualifying found them just outside the starting field, denying them the chance to compete for the NHRA POWERade winner's trophy.

"This was a tough weekend for the entire Martino team. Between the track, the new tire and the changing weather conditions, we were just a bit off on the tune-up all weekend. Unfortunately, the competition in Pro Stock is so fierce that if you don't bring your "A" game on every run, you stand a good chance of missing the show. We knew our time from Friday wouldn't keep us in, so we made some changes trying to make our car better, and it's pretty obvious it didn't like it.

"But, if anything, this weekend has strengthened our resolve. We have a couple of weeks before Gainesville, and we're going to take advantage of the time to go over our Jesel Motorsports Grand Am from nose to tail. Learning what a particular race car wants is an on-going process, and we have our work cut out for us.

"The Gatornationals are drag racing's traditional East Coast season-opener, and we usually have a lot of friends and family cheering us on, so we don't want to disappoint them. I know we'll be ready."

-mm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino