Rockingham: Harold Martin preview

Martin Relishes a Return to "Normal" Racing at The Rock Throughout the course of the 2007 season, Harold Martin and the ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod Racing team have encountered a series of unusual challenges while trying to compete in two different...

Martin Relishes a Return to "Normal" Racing at The Rock

Throughout the course of the 2007 season, Harold Martin and the ACDelco Pontiac Pro Mod Racing team have encountered a series of unusual challenges while trying to compete in two different racing series. From postponements due to inclement weather to having the racing format changed from its standard quarter-mile length to that of an eighth of a mile at the Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series season opener in San Antonio one month ago, the Martin-led crew has been continually tested. Although certainly looking forward to a return to normalcy at this weekend's Spring Nationals in Rockingham, NC, Martin believes the experience of the last few months will prove valuable in the months ahead.

"The most difficult part of this season so far is that you know to be successful, you have to set out a plan," said Martin. "But the reality is that you also have to have numerous back up plans to deal with the variables over which you have no control. While this ACDelco Pro Modified team is optimistically looking forward to what potentially will be a normal weekend, we're certainly going to be prepared for the 'what-if' scenarios that we also could be faced with, dialing in to whatever conditions The Rock can provide."

Adding to Martin's sense of anticipation is the location of this weekend's event. Located in the North Carolina Sand Hills, Rockingham Dragway is a track steeped in drag racing history. With the combination of a lightning-fast racing surface and the largest Pro Modified field of this young IHRA campaign, teams will need to be at their very best to contend for the win. Having already made one final round appearance at "The Rock" in his career, the man known as the "EFI Wizard" is looking for another strong showing in the Tar Heel State this weekend.

"Rockingham Dragway is a great racetrack with a lot of positive history for our ACDelco Racing team," said Martin. "It has a very smooth racing surface, which makes it really good for getting the car from A to B. The one thing that can be a little tricky is that when the air actually gets too good and the cars generate so much power the starting line can lack a bit of grip, so you have to make sure not to overachieve at the start. However, if you can get off the line and into second gear without tire shake, you could be in for a good run.

"I truly have to give Steve Earwood and his entire team at The Rock credit for the outstanding job they have done in keeping the community, the county and all of the fans that support their races together. Steve has been an ambassador for motorsports and that is reflected in the fans that come out to his track. They really appreciate his efforts and his commitment to the community. It's exciting to be racing with Steve and his team, as well as the tremendous fan base we have there, and nothing would be better than to do well in front of them."

Entering the Rockingham race, one question remains unanswered for all the participants in the highly competitive Pro Modified category, which concerns the effect off-season rule changes will have on reestablishing the parity between the nitrous-injected and supercharged entries. While many will be watching the time slips and comparing times between the dueling technologies, Martin and his crew will instead concentrate on making sure to extract every possible ounce of performance from their state-of-the-art, 2,400 horsepower hot rod.

"We still have to see how the rules changes will affect the parity, and the conditions this weekend could possibly open a Pandora's box for the blown competition to excel at their performance levels," said Martin. "Even so, we are going to simply focus on our ACDelco program, seeing if we can find the incremental improvements that we know are within our reach and comparing that to what our competition will reveal.

"At the end of the day, we know we have a tremendous number of fans who want to see parity between the two technologies. Hopefully, this race will truly reflect what the performance capabilities are for the Pro Modified contingent, so we can see where they stand, and the sanctioning body will act accordingly, giving us all what we ultimately want -- good, close racing."

-credit: hmm

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Series Drag
Drivers Harold Martin