Harold Martin Hopes Home Track Advantage Will Provide Winning Edge in Milan The competition in the IHRA's Pro Modified division is arguably as close as it has ever been in 2005, with the first five races seeing five different winners and only...
Harold Martin Hopes Home Track Advantage Will Provide Winning Edge in Milan
The competition in the IHRA's Pro Modified division is arguably as close as it has ever been in 2005, with the first five races seeing five different winners and only one driver making more than one final round appearance. With such close competition, teams will welcome any advantage they can get in order to reach the winner's circle.
Entering this weekend's Dukes of Hazzard Motor City Nationals, Harold Martin and the ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod Racing team hope the site of the race will provide such an edge. Located only 44 miles from the Martin Motorsports shop in New Hudson, Milan Dragway is the team's home track, where they conduct the bulk of their in-season testing. Armed with this extensive experience, Martin looks to improve on his solid semi-final finish from a year ago and score what would be a very popular win.
"Racing at your home track comes with several benefits, as well as its own set of challenges," said Martin. "Certainly, we would love to leverage our experience at Milan Dragway. We are very familiar with the track, having tested there often, giving us a knowledge base that we hope to capitalize on.
"On the other hand, you can really relate to our Detroit Pistons, who showed that they were better as an away team than they were at home, simply because of the added distractions of the 10,000 friends who are now calling, each wanting, in our case, to be the new wrench in your pit area. This ACDelco Racing team knows the importance of maintaining our focus and staying in the game, but we'd be less than honest if we didn't acknowledge that we'll be waving to people a little more than normal this weekend.
"Having said that, however, there would be nothing better than to win at home in front of those same 10,000 fans and friends. One thing that is great about the Milan race is that it brings out a heritage of fans, dating from my dad's racing days to the people who have followed my racing career. It is truly wonderful to see the generations come together, and there would be nothing more special than to display our ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod's great performance and score what would be a tremendous win."
Martin Aims to Use Final Race of First Half to Start Second Half Charge
As the Hooters Drag Racing Series approaches the midpoint of the 2005 season, the Pro Mod championship battle is the tightest among the IHRA's four professional categories. The top ten in points are separated by only seven rounds of competition, with each having a legitimate shot at this year's title.
However, as the number of remaining races dwindles, so does the pressure to perform increase. Therefore, Martin enters the final race of the first half determined to have a strong showing at his home track as he pushes towards the top of the standings, the first step in what he hopes will be a second half surge to his first professional championship.
"This year has been a showcase of what makes Pro Mod racing so exciting," detailed Martin. "These cars are constantly on the edge between a career best run and one where monstrous tire shake brings you to your knees. As such, the fastest car does not always win the race. That is why we have had such a variation in winners so far this year.
"I think this will start to settle down soon, as racers realize they have to start focusing on the points race in order to have a shot at the championship. As it stands, the race for this year's title is wide open, and the opportunity is there for any one who is able to string a few strong performances together, which is clearly where our sights are set.
"Therefore, repeatability is a focal point of our program. In the early races, we had an aggressive set-up that we felt could run at the front of the class and potentially be a new record holder. However, we have now converted our ACDelco Pontiac to a calmer tune-up designed to consistently deliver good, solid performance. That is our strategy as we move forward in the rest of the season, and we will do whatever we need to optimize around that."