Parsippany, New Jersey, September 14, 1999 - The last time the NHRA held a national event in close proximity to Tom Martino's Farmingdale, New Jersey headquarters, the CENTURY 21 Pro Stock Firebird Racing Team responded with their best showing of...
Parsippany, New Jersey, September 14, 1999 - The last time the NHRA held a national event in close proximity to Tom Martino's Farmingdale, New Jersey headquarters, the CENTURY 21 Pro Stock Firebird Racing Team responded with their best showing of the season, advancing all the way to the final round in Englishtown. Naturally, as Martino and crew return to their neighborhood for this weekend's True Value Keystone Nationals, they are looking to improve on that result.
"Last May, we had an outstanding weekend at Raceway Park," stated Martino. "It was extremely exciting to do well at a track so close to ours and CENTURY 21's headquarters. We're a little further away from home this weekend in Reading, but we still consider it our second home track. We're hoping to do just as well - in fact, we'd like to take our Firebird one round further."
Naturally the path to success at Maple Grove Raceway will be full of crucial decisions. The first will come before Martino even leaves his shop, as he must pick which of his three chassis he shall use in competition. The choice will be based on several factors, including their familiarity with the vehicle, its history of responding to adjustments, and how the team feels the car will react to the specific conditions at the Pennsylvania facility. The final word will probably come at the conclusion of a two-day test session, giving Martino and crew a first-hand comparison. Of course, the team will hedge their bets by loading a second car onto the CENTURY 21 hauler as a back up.
Once in Reading, the team will have to meet the challenge posed not only by their competitors, but the track itself. Nestled in the Pennsylvania woods, Maple Grove Raceway can offer weather conditions conducive to high horsepower. However, a slightly bumpy racing surface ensures that handling and driver skill will be just as vital to making a good run. In addition, with long-range forecasts calling for rain on Friday, teams are faced with the possibility of only two qualifying sessions, reducing the already miniscule margin for error. None of this is lost on the Martino crew.
"It's no secret that we haven't been pleased with our performance of late," stated Martino. "Since Indianapolis, this team has worked non-stop, exploring every option to get us back on track. For that reason, I'm glad we're racing at Reading this weekend. We're familiar with the facility, and what it takes to run well there.
"Of course, we'll have plenty of friends and family members in the stands cheering us on, along with several sponsor representatives. Some would think that puts more pressure on us, but quite frankly, it couldn't be more than what we place on ourselves. The way we see it, the Keystones offer this CENTURY 21 Firebird Racing team a chance to reward ourselves and those behind us for their support, and I'd say it's about time to do so."
As part of the CENTURY 21 "Drive It Home" Sweepstakes Tour, Tom Martino will be making a personal appearance at the Berkshire Mall, 1665 State Hill Road, Wyomissing, PA on Thursday, September 16 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. For directions, please call (610) 376-8661.... Tom's best qualifying performance at this event is 5th, which he accomplished in 1996....This will be Tom's fourth Pro Stock appearance at Maple Grove Raceway, where he looks to improve on his quarter-final finish from 1996.