Benza, Martino form 2005 team

Benza and Martino team up for '05 challenge NEW YORK, N.Y. (Jan. 24) - Northeast drag racing veterans Tom Martino and Bob Benza have joined forces for 2005 to field at least one Pro Stock car with Benza driving and Martino tuning their handmade...

Benza and Martino team up for '05 challenge

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Jan. 24) - Northeast drag racing veterans Tom Martino and Bob Benza have joined forces for 2005 to field at least one Pro Stock car with Benza driving and Martino tuning their handmade powerplants. The duo has tentative plans to race at 15 national events.

Martino is a four-time winner in the class with multiple top-10 finishes in the POWERade points. He's always been very involved in engine development and he and Benza now have a line of new motors prepared for competition.

"Tom is making great power," Benza said. "Our engine program is coming along nicely. I think we will be competitive from the onset. We have all the pieces in place to run with the top-10 teams. I'm excited about what we can accomplish this year."

A bridge builder by trade, Benza has been racing part-time in the Pro Stock class since 1997. Prior to that, the Braircliff Manor, N.Y., native enjoyed plenty of success competing regionally in Comp and Modified Eliminator. He won the Summer Nationals in 1986 and took runner-up honors at the U.S. Nationals one year later.

"My business commitments have always made it tough for me to justify being gone as much as it takes to run the full circuit," Benza said. "I'm okay with that, but at the same time I've reached a point where I really want to be competitive at the races I do attend. I firmly believe that with our engines and Tom's tuning ability, we'll reach that goal."

Benza also is open to Martino driving at some of the races he can't attend. Ultimately, if proper funding could be found, they'd even entertain the idea of fielding two entries. In the meantime, Benza and Martino hope they can show enough horsepower on the racetrack to entice some engine customers to sign on to their program.

"We'll know very soon how we measure up with the others," Benza said. "We'll be heading to Gainesville Raceway in Florida shortly. From what I understand a lot of teams will be there so we should get a good feel for how we rate."

Currently, the team plans to race in Gainesville, Houston, Bristol, Atlanta, Chicago, Topeka, Columbus, Englishtown, St. Louis, Brainerd, Memphis, Indianapolis, Chicago 2, Reading, and Las Vegas.

"We're excited," Benza said. "Tom and I have been great friends for 25 years. He wasn't racing last year so he came over to help me and it just kind of went from there. We're both very driven individuals who like to succeed at whatever we do so I think we'll be able to hold our own. We won't run for the championships, but we can shake things up when we're there. That's the plan."

-gs-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Benza , Tom Martino