Martin Multi-Tasks to Prepare for Racing at "The Rock" After a three-week hiatus, the Hooters Drag Racing Series returns to action this weekend with the running of the IHRA Spring Nationals in Rockingham, NC. It has been an extremely active...
Martin Multi-Tasks to Prepare for Racing at "The Rock"
After a three-week hiatus, the Hooters Drag Racing Series returns to action this weekend with the running of the IHRA Spring Nationals in Rockingham, NC. It has been an extremely active time for Harold Martin and the ACDelco Pontiac Pro Modified Racing team, as they have had to balance various activities while preparing for the race.
For example, in the week after the season-opening event in San Antonio, Martin first flew back to the team's headquarters in Michigan to coordinate the servicing and repair of his 2,400-horsepower hot rod following the challenging weekend in Texas. Within 24 hours, he traveled to North Carolina to participate in a two-day video shoot with his fellow Team ACDelco members at the Richard Childress Racing facility before returning north to work on, among other things, his engine development program.
This short period represents a microcosm of Martin's schedule, as in addition to his responsibilities with the race team, he must also oversee the daily operation of his other company, Martin Technologies, which is a tier one supplier to the major automotive manufacturers. Being able to master this multi-tasking is something Martin views as both an opportunity and a necessity.
"These are very tough economic times for all, and you have to be diverse in your efforts, finding ways to be strong enough financially to do the things you are passionate about," said Martin. "Few people understand how hard we work to be able to do this. Certainly, it comes with a great amount of sacrifice, requiring a great deal of effort and passion.
"We are all on a timeline, and you have to capitalize the energy that you have each and every day. Sometimes I feel as though I've lived multiple lives, any of which could have been a career. I thank the Lord for having this opportunity, and the intelligence and energy to do what I do. I make no excuses for it. I just get after it in the most aggressive way possible each and every day. Yes, my plate is loaded, but I accept it and charge forward with all the exciting things that we are doing."
However, once he arrives at Rockingham Dragway, Martin's primary goal will be to extract the maximum performance from his ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod in order to put himself in a position to qualify at the top of the field and score his second national event win.
"The one great thing about having a great team of people within the race team as well as my other company is that everyone understands that when I am at the track, I am 100% focused on the race program, and they don't disturb me," detailed Martin. "I won't even look at the other issues until the following week.
"We have worked extremely hard on our program. Racing is such a journey. We started off the year with a brand new car, and we feel really good about its performance. It's unfortunate that we suffered a few setbacks at the last race, but that hasn't deterred our confidence in our program, both current and in the future. We're very confident in our ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod's performance potential, including the new developments we're currently working on that we will look to incorporate as the season unfolds."
Off-Season Testing has ACDelco Crew Excited about Rockingham
Throughout his Pro Modified career, Harold Martin has had a roller-coaster relationship with Rockingham Dragway, site of this weekend's event. This legendary facility located in the North Carolina Sand Hills has seen the "EFI Wizard" rocket to his second career final round at the 2003 World Finals, yet also witnessed the second-generation racer having to deal with the consequences of a potentially disastrous fire at this event in 2002. In each instance, Martin has found an element to build on, with his team emerging even stronger from the experience.
As they return to the Tar Heel state, the team's confidence is bolstered by the results of a pre-season test held at the track, where they were consistently among the quickest in the highly competitive Pro Modified category. With unseasonably cool temperatures forecast, Martin is cautiously optimistic about his chances.
"In pre-season testing at Rockingham Dragway, we ran career-best numbers with a conservative set-up, which is the baseline we want to take into this event," said Martin. "As much as we've worked on new ideas and enhancements since that test, we've cautioned ourselves to use that baseline as our starting point. It has us pretty excited that things could go the ACDelco Pontiac's way this weekend.
"The unusual timing of the qualifying sessions, with two held in the evening and one during the day can make the planning process extremely stressful. The two night sessions bring in a completely new set of circumstances, which make you vulnerable to someone hitting the magic wand during the cool night qualifying session. You'd like to build as much continuity as you can into the race day set-up, but you're frequently challenged just to stay qualified.
"Of course, there is also some discussion as to how much variance there will be in the weather. If there any delays in the execution of the race program, it's possible there could be a late night session where temperatures could get way cool and the track characteristics extremely different. We've all seen many different things happen in Rockingham. After all, it is "The Rock", and you have to expect the unexpected.
"At that point, you just have to race the race track, and the good thing is we raced there a few weeks back in an environment where our competitors were not experiencing a great deal of success, while we did. Hopefully, that might mean we have good things to come this weekend, and we'll work hard to make sure it happens."
Racing With a Heavy Heart
Harold Martin and the entire ACDelco team will be racing with heavy hearts this weekend, as earlier this week they suffered the loss of Martin's young cousin Gary Martin, who passed away from natural causes. As such, the crew have dedicated their efforts in Rockingham to the memory of a fine young man whose life was cut short.
"I come to Rockingham with a heavy heart, but at the same time I know that Gary would have it no other way than for us to carry on with our racing this weekend," said Martin, who flew directly from the funeral to North Carolina. "Therefore, nothing would be better to honor his memory and we will do our best to offer a fitting tribute to his life."