Martin Battles to a Runner-Up Finish in Epping Harold Martin and the ACDelco Pontiac Pro Modified Racing team put on a tremendous display on Sunday, powering to a runner-up finish at the Amalie Oil North American Nationals in Epping, New ...
Martin Battles to a Runner-Up Finish in Epping
Harold Martin and the ACDelco Pontiac Pro Modified Racing team put on a tremendous display on Sunday, powering to a runner-up finish at the Amalie Oil North American Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire. Starting from the 15th position, Martin combined good driving with a consistent race car to eliminate veterans Quain Stott, Danny Rowe and Tommy D'Aprile in the early rounds before squaring off against Eddie Ware in the final.
Facing Ware, who established a new IHRA Pro Modified elapsed time record in the second round, without lane choice, Martin knew he would need every advantage in order to capture the second national event win of his career. Unfortunately, trying to cut a perfect light he left the starting line two hundredths of a second early, with the resultant red light awarding the automatic win to his opponent. Even so, Martin knew it had been a tremendous day for his Martin Motorsports crew.
"When I left the track after qualifying on Saturday night, I felt really good about our ACDelco Pontiac's chances to do well on Sunday," said Martin. "I looked at all of our previous runs and saw we were progressing well, doing everything we wanted to do. We didn't feel as if we had the power potential to run with the blown (supercharged) cars in qualifying, so we concentrated in getting in the show, putting ourselves in a position to go rounds on Sunday.
"Looking at the ladder, we knew there were no easy opportunities, and that we would be racing against some very good race teams. From the first round against Quain (Stott), we had our hands full throughout the day, and had to bring our best foot forward. For example, we shook the tires in the second round against Rowe, but still managed to run a 6.29 for the win. Although we stepped up to a 6.19 in the semifinals to hold off D'Aprile, we did hurt the motor, forcing us to change engines before the final.
"With the limited amount of time available, it took an outstanding effort by the entire team just to get the job done in time. We went up there with full intentions of staying with our game plan, trying to run between a 6.15 to a 6.20. Unfortunately, with only 35 minutes between rounds, we were unable to set the air gap, and as a result, the car crept through the lights at the start, turning on the red light. All in all, it was still a great weekend for the entire team."
Throughout his career, Martin has been known for his intellectual approach to racing on the quarter-mile, which was a key to his strong showing at New England Dragway this weekend. One of only three nitrous powered cars to qualify for Sunday's final eliminations, Martin faced an apparent performance disadvantage, but minimized its effect by successfully adapting to the tricky racing surface, making solid runs in the 6.19 -- 6.29-second range while others simply overpowered it. As a result, he was not only the most consistent car throughout the first three rounds of eliminations, but also among the quickest. Their efforts rewarded with a runner-up finish in the Granite State, Martin's ACDelco crew heads into the final three races of the eMax Drag Racing season with a well-deserved boost in confidence.
"At the end of the day, the one advantage the superior teams and drivers can have is knowing your car and how to set it up for a given track condition," detailed Martin. "Our primary focus throughout the weekend was to race the racetrack and not worry about what the competition was doing. We had tested extensively over the last few months and the data we gathered then helped us find a set up that we could use to our advantage.
"The conditions on race day were quite different from those we had encountered in qualifying, with the cooler temperatures offering the potential for a substantial increase in power that would be more than the track could take. Therefore, we had to totally change our race car's set up to make sure that we could go from A to B as opposed to trying to rotate the earth, which could have ended our day early. My hat is off to our entire ACDelco Pontiac team for the effort they put forth to make those changes and have them work for us as well as they did.
"It was a great feeling to be a nitrous car racing competitively with the blown cars, and being successful against them, especially considering the apparent disparity between the two technologies under the current rules. Hopefully our sanctioning body will adjust the rules soon to allow the nitrous competitors to advance our technologies to where we are on equal footing with our blown colleagues. For example, wouldn't it be great to see the nitrous cars running in the 6.0-second range alongside the blown cars, with each having a realistic shot at pole positions and wins? I believe we could all have fun then.
"But for now, we'll focus on our results here this weekend. After all, our performance is a reflection of what Real Car Guys are all about. This ACDelco crew kept fighting, doing whatever we could to win, giving us a much needed boost in confidence as well as something to build on as we go into these last three races and beyond."