Parsippany, New Jersey, November 4, 1999 - The 1999 Winston Drag Racing season comes to a close this weekend with the running of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. Although like most of his fellow...
Parsippany, New Jersey, November 4, 1999 - The 1999 Winston Drag Racing season comes to a close this weekend with the running of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. Although like most of his fellow competitors Tom Martino will be glad to see the end of a long, hard year, the CENTURY 21( Pro Stock Firebird pilot is not quite ready to begin mapping out vacation plans.
First of all, as any racer will tell you, when your car is running as well as the Martino Racing entry has of late, the last thing you want to do is park it. In addition, due to his recent resurgence, this last race provides Martino with several opportunities to not only end the year on a positive note, but to accomplish some of his pre-season goals.
"Normally, we're relieved when we get to Pomona for the Finals, because it marks the end of the season, and by that time we can all use a break," explained Martino. "But this time around, the entire CENTURY 21( Firebird Racing team is coming in really pumped up. If things go our way this weekend, we could validate our entire year."
The reason for Martino's excitement can be found nestled in the CENTURY 21( transporter in the shape of a new Don Ness-built Firebird. Since its debut in Reading seven weeks ago, the Martino crew has completely transformed their performance, improving with every event and culminating with a final round appearance in Houston. Suddenly, Martino finds himself within sight of extending two important streaks, namely that of winning at least one race a year, dating back to the Slick 50 Nationals in 1997, and posting a Top Ten points finish, which Martino has accomplished throughout his Pro Stock career. For a team that started the season in Pomona nine months ago by cutting the quarter-panels on a brand-new racecar to meet the NHRA's requirements, attaining either goal would be extremely gratifying.
But to have a chance, Martino knows he will have to face the challenge of another tough Pro Stock field on a fast Pomona Raceway. Having reached the final at this event two years ago, he knows what it will take to succeed. The combination of cool, horsepower-producing temperatures and lightning-fast surface will ensure that those not on their game will be left behind. The entire Martino crew is determined to not let that happen, for they've come too far and are too close.
"After our early season struggles, it would mean a lot to this team if we could close out the year with a win" stated Martino. "Not only would it reward us for the long hours and sleepless nights, but it would be the perfect way to show our sponsors our appreciation for standing behind us this year.
"We also have a shot, albeit a long one, at getting back into the Top Ten. But before anything else, we are just going to focus on making good runs with our CENTURY 21( Firebird every time down the track. If we do that, I'm confident we can get the job done. All I can say is, we've done it before."
The 1999 CENTURY 21( "Drive It Home" Sweepstakes Tour will come to a close with a week-long appearance of the CENTURY 21( Pro Stock Firebird showcar at Muller Hood Pontiac Buick GMC, 8101 Auto Drive, Riverside, California. On the last day of the appearance, Thursday, November 11, there will be a radio remote from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. and one lucky entrant will be awarded the two-year lease of a new Pontiac Firebird. For directions, please call (909) 687-0515.....This will be Tom's eighth Pro Stock appearance at Pomona Raceway, where he looks to improve on his final round appearance at this event in 1997.
WHAT: 35th Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, the twenty-second and last event of the 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Schedule.
WHEN: November 11 - 14, 1999
WHERE: Pomona Raceway, Pomona, California
SCHEDULE: Professional qualifying sessions start with single sessions on Thursday, November 11 and Friday, November 12 at 1:45 p.m. and conclude with two rounds on Saturday, November 13 at 11:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 14.
TV: ESPN2 will air one hour of qualifying highlights from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 13. In addition, ESPN2 will provide two hours of first round coverage from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. and one hour of final round coverage from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 14. (All times are Eastern). As always, please check your local listings.