Century 21 Pro Stock Firebird pilot Tom Martino did almost everything he wanted in the first round of eliminations at Sunday's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals. He had a near-perfect .406 reaction time to gain nearly four hundredths of a second...
Century 21 Pro Stock Firebird pilot Tom Martino did almost everything he wanted in the first round of eliminations at Sunday's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals. He had a near-perfect .406 reaction time to gain nearly four hundredths of a second advantage at the start. Martino also had his best run of the weekend, with both his elapsed time of 7.377 seconds and top speed of 186.48 mph bettering his qualifying performance, which was the second quickest of the round in the right lane. Unfortunately, this strong showing was not enough to propel Martino into the second round. Moments prior to Martino's run, a massive oil down in the right lane had resulted in a lengthy clean-up which undoubtably increased the disparity between the two sides of the track. As the higher qualified car, current Pro Stock points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. took full advantage of running in the better lane to overcome his starting-line deficit and just edge Martino at the finish line. Afterwards, a game Martino declined to blame his misfortune solely on the track. "Although there is about one hundredth of a second difference between the two, I can't say I had a problem with the right lane. In fact, it was actually in better shape than I thought it would be after that Funny Car oiled it from one end to the other. I have to applaud the NHRA's Safety Safari for the job they did. Having said that, however, I believe we would have won if the lanes had been closer.
"Overall, I was pretty satisfied with our run. It was one of the quickest for that lane in the first round, and other than getting off the startling line a little better, I don't see where we could have improved.
"It all comes down to qualifying. As close as the competition is in Pro Stock, having lane choice in the first round is crucial. Jeggie just did a better job in qualifying, and was able to put us in the bad lane. He also didn't make any mistakes on his run that we could take advantage of. Starting in Seattle, we just have to make sure our Century 21 Firebird qualifies in the top half of the field. We're getting pretty tired of these short days."