MARTINO LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK IN BRAINERD CENTURY 21( Racing Team prepares to defend their title at the 18th Annual The Colonels Truck Accessories Nationals Parsippany, New Jersey, August 17, 1999 - This weekend, the NHRA Winston Drag Racing ...
MARTINO LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK IN BRAINERD CENTURY 21( Racing Team prepares to defend their title at the 18th Annual The Colonels Truck Accessories Nationals
Parsippany, New Jersey, August 17, 1999 - This weekend, the NHRA Winston Drag Racing circuit makes it way back to Brainerd International Raceway, and Tom Martino couldn't be happier. Nestled in the woods north of Minneapolis, this facility has been the site of several Martino successes.
During his rookie year in 1996, he shattered the track record in claiming the first number one qualifying position of his professional career. Martino topped that achievement one year ago by scoring his third national event win when he defeated Mark Osborne on a hole-shot in the final. In fact, each time the CENTURY 21( Pro Stock Firebird pilot has competed at BIR, he has never failed to accumulate at least one elimination round win. Therefore, it is easy to understand why Martino is looking forward to The Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals.
"For whatever reason, Brainerd is one of tracks where I've always done well," stated Martino. "Its racing surface seems to play towards this team's strong suit, which is adapting to the conditions. Handling is a key at BIR, and you have to really be on your game to run well there. It's not so much a matter of making power as it is getting it to the ground. If we can get our CENTURY 21( Firebird down the track without the tires spinning or shaking excessively, we'll have a good weekend."
As always, preparation for this event involved long hours for the entire team. Immediately upon the transporter's return from the West Coast, Martino performed an extensive rebuild on his primary race motor (nicknamed "Raptor" after his youngest son Vincent's love of dinosaurs), which involved a total disassembly followed by a thorough examination and rebuild with fresh parts, following by testing on the dynamometer. The remainder of the Martino powerplant inventory used since Bristol was also checked and refurbished as necessary. In addition, attention was given to going over their Pro Stock Firebird, taking advantage of the time in the shop to check it for signs of wear after a month of competition and testing.
Another area that will receive a welcome boost in Brainerd will be the team's confidence, which has been severely tested by the strain of constant competition. In a sport that has its competitors constantly searching for an edge, returning to a track where one has done well is a bonus. Undoubtedly, notes from previous runs on the Minnesota quarter-mile will be vital in assisting the crew as they tune their mount. But just as those numbers in a notebook will assist in the mechanical preparation, the simple knowledge of prior success will bolster a team's self-assurance, a key component when battling the best "doorslammers" in drag racing.
"When you're struggling, as we have in recent weeks, you welcome the chance to run on a track on which you've done well in the past" declared Martino. "So you can see why we're anxious to go to Brainerd this weekend. Our goal is quite simple. We want to perform at a consistent and competitive level. If we do that, we'll put our CENTURY 21( Firebird in a position to win. The potential is there, and we just have to push the right buttons. We will pull into BIR on Wednesday as the defending champions of this race. I can't imagine anything better for ourselves and our sponsors than to leave here Sunday night the same way."
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Tom Martino - Brainerd
MARTINO MOMENTS: As part of the CENTURY 21( "Drive It Home" Sweepstakes Tour, Tom Martino will be making a personal appearance at the Westgate Mall, 1272 Highway 210 West, Brainerd, MN on Thursday, August 19 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. For directions, please call (218) 828-1668.....This will be Tom's fourth race with the Jerry Bickel race chassis, which he purchased following the Columbus race.... This will be Tom's fourth Pro Stock appearance at Brainerd International Raceway, where he looks to duplicate his victory from last year.
WHAT: 18th Annual The Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals, the fifteenth event of the 22-race 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Schedule.
WHEN: August 19 - 22, 1999
WHERE: Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minnesota
SCHEDULE: Professional qualifying sessions start on Friday, August 20 with two sessions at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m., and conclude on Saturday, August 21 with two rounds at 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 22.
TV: Speedvision will air two hours of final-round coverage from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 22, two hours of first-round coverage from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 22 and one hour of qualifying highlights on Saturday, August 21 from 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. (All times are Eastern). As always, please check your local listings.