Martin Surges to Second Round in Rockingham Entering Sunday's final eliminations of the IHRA Spring Nationals, ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod pilot Harold Martin looked to turn his fourth starting position into his first win at Rockingham Dragway.
Martin Surges to Second Round in Rockingham
Entering Sunday's final eliminations of the IHRA Spring Nationals, ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod pilot Harold Martin looked to turn his fourth starting position into his first win at Rockingham Dragway. However, the Martin's team first assignment was to come up with the proper tune-up to conquer the dramatically cooler temperatures that greeted competitors on race morning.
Things went according to plan in the first round, when the "EFI Wizard" opened with a solid 6.251-second, 223.65 mph pass in the first round to trailer No. 13 qualifier Steve Vick. This set the stage for a second-round encounter with veteran Rickie Smith.
Launching in close proximity, the two racers surged down the quarter-mile in a virtual dead heat. However, just as it seemed Martin would pull away for the win, smoke billowed from his race car, with the mechanical troubles slowing him to a 6.526-second elapsed time and cutting his day short, as his opponent posted a 6.298-second run to advance.
"I just recapped the weekend with my guys, and commended them for doing a great job," said Martin. "Many times in a journey, you have to look within to see the things that are positive as well as possible areas of improvement. As a reflection back on last season, our program struggled in cooler ambient conditions such as we encountered here.
"I believe our efforts this weekend showed that our efforts during the winter were directionally correct, and we're finally starting to make progress in the cooler air, and giving us the confidence that we can go from A to B in these conditions.
"It's unfortunate that we had a problem with our engine on that last run. We knew it in the round before, but just didn't feel like we had the time to change it, so we crossed our fingers and hoped we could get some help from Lady Luck in the second round, and then fix it in time for the semifinals. I clearly had passed him (Smith) on the track and was ready to make a move when I felt the engine surge and that was it.
"We'll go home and analyze what happened with the engine and get it turned around. We will then couple it with the new information we have and look to get this ACDelco Pontiac in the winner's circle very soon."