Tom Martino Richmond Preview

MARTINO READIES FOR A FAST TRACK IN RICHMOND PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, April 22, 1998 - Less than four days after the completion of the rain-delayed event in Atlanta, the NHRA's finest will be on the track again for the running of the Pennzoil ...

MARTINO READIES FOR A FAST TRACK IN RICHMOND

PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, April 22, 1998 - Less than four days after the completion of the rain-delayed event in Atlanta, the NHRA's finest will be on the track again for the running of the Pennzoil nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. The accomplishments of the previous weekend have been quickly forgotten, with the focus now squarely on the Richmond winner's circle. For Tom Martino and the Six Flags Theme Parks Racing Team, it will be business as usual as they prepare their Thrill Machine Firebird to take on the best in the Pro Stock field.

"The rain delay didn't really bother the Six Flags Racing Team," stated Martino. "We were in pretty good shape after Atlanta. We'll do our normal pre-race maintenance and fine-tune our Thrill Machine for the Richmond track, and we'll be ready to run!"

Of course, routine maintenance to an NHRA Pro Stock racing team would constitute a major overhaul to the average street car. The transmission is removed and checked, with gear ratios changed as track conditions dictate. The clutch discs are resurfaced to provide the maximum surface area for transmitting the over 1,200 horsepower from the engine to the ground. The powerplant itself receives thorough attention, as well, with each valve spring, rocker arm and other components receiving careful attention. Once this is complete, the crew will turn to setting the car for the racetrack, adjusting springs, carburetors, ride height and weight balance. It is a very delicate puzzle, for one turn the wrong way can be the difference between winning and going home early. On positive note, the Virginia Motorsports Park surface is very similar to last week's Atlanta track, which should make the team's task slightly easier.

There is one extra incentive for this weekend's event. With warmer temperatures approaching, many see the Richmond race as the last opportunity to post lightning-fast elapsed times and tremendous top speeds. Records set here often stand until next season, offering competitors an opportunity to make a statement heading into the warmer races, where a car's handling is more important that its power. This does not concern the Martino crew, whose philosophy is simple - winning takes care of everything.

"The Virginia Motorsports Park track is a good one, with fairly even lanes," explained Martino. "We think you will see another six-second field in Pro Stock, which suits our Six Flags Thrill Machine just fine. We made progress last week, so now we're looking to take some big strides towards winning our first race of the season!"

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino