Tom Martino Rockingham Preview

MARTINO READIES FOR "THE ROCK" WITH A TEST AGAINST THE BEST Six Flags Thrill Machine to run match race this weekend against Warren Johnson PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, March 27, 1998 - After three consecutive weekends of competition, the Six Flags...

MARTINO READIES FOR "THE ROCK" WITH A TEST AGAINST THE BEST

Six Flags Thrill Machine to run match race this weekend against Warren Johnson

PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, March 27, 1998 - After three consecutive weekends of competition, the Six Flags Racing Team will continue their quest for speed with a match race this weekend at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. However, this will not be a simple one-on-one confrontation, with the winner gaining bragging rights. Each team will approach this weekend with specific goals in addition to winning. For example, they will look to gather valuable information about their race car and opponent, which could prove useful at future NHRA national events. In this instance, Tom Martino could not have picked a better means to evaluate his progress, as he will be facing the "Professor of Pro Stock", Warren Johnson, who currently leads the season's points standings, and has won three consecutive events.

"Warren Johnson is currently the standard by which all Pro Stock racers are measured," stated Martino. "This weekend's match race will show us how our Six Flags Thrill Machine stacks up. We'll take the data we get from this weekend, and use it for Rockingham and beyond. Our goal is to leave here with a firm handle on what it takes to make our Firebird fly. Of course, beating Warren would be a nice bonus."

Since their return from Houston, the Six Flags team has pored over their race car, examining it from nose to tail. Their focus has been on the chassis, and how it affects the transfer of the 1,200 plus horsepower from the Martino-built motor to the track. In addition, they will be mounting a new '98 nose on their Firebird. This weekend's run against WJ, run on Martino's home track, will allow them to gauge these changes and adjustments and further fine-tune their performance without the pressure of qualifying for a national event. Unlike a normal test session, however, there will be an adversary in the other lane and fans in the stands. But Tom Martino will be oblivious to these additions, as his attention will be on powering his Thrill Machine to a perfect, full-power pass.

"Our biggest adversary this season has been wheel spin, which we are working hard to eliminate," explained Martino. "It begins at the starting line, and continues all the way through the run, which compounds the problem, because we have very little data to work with. We've made some additional changes since Texas, and look to use the run against Warren to confirm that it's finally behind us."

Following the match race, the team will head to North Carolina for next weekend's Winston Invitational at Rockingham Dragway. This annual event is the NHRA's and Winston's version of an "all-star" race, where top performers from all professional categories gather for an all-out pursuit of one thing - a huge payday. There are no championship points awarded, but the Pro Stock Team that prevails at "The Rock" will leave with an unmatched $50,000 winner's check. For Tom Martino and the Six Flags Racing team, there would be no better point to launch their attack on the Pro Stock field.

"The Winston Invitational is an incredible event," said Martino. "The format is exciting for the fans, and every team in Pro Stock could use the $50,000. You can imagine how thrilled this Six Flags Racing Team would be to post their first win of the season here!"

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Tom Martino