Gainesville: Tom Martino Friday qualifying notes

Martino Moments Notes from the first day of qualifying for the Mac Tools Gatornationals Mechanical malfunction on Friday costs Martino in Gainesville Date: Friday, March 15, 2002 Location: Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, FL Blue skies and...

Martino Moments Notes from the first day of qualifying for the Mac Tools Gatornationals

Mechanical malfunction on Friday costs Martino in Gainesville

Date: Friday, March 15, 2002
Location: Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, FL

Blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures marked Friday's qualifying sessions for the Mac Tools Gatornationals. Although this "Chamber of Commerce" weather may have pleased the fans in the stands, crew chiefs in every professional category struggled to find the right combination to tame the Gainesville Raceway surface.

Pro Stock driver Tom Martino's task was complicated even further by a mechanical failure on his first attempt. Although the Jesel Motorsports Grand Am team was able to rebound with a 6.914-second, 200.53 mph effort, they found themselves outside the top sixteen heading into Saturday's final two sessions.

"In the first session, I knew there was a problem with the engine right at the hit of the throttle, so I shut it off. As I coasted through the lights, I was afraid we had broken something internally, but it turned out to only be a faulty spark plug wire. We were able to come back and make a respectable run in the evening, but without the benefit of the first run, we couldn't be as aggressive as we'd like.

"As tight as these Pro Stock fields have become, you have to take advantage of every opportunity. We lost one of the two good sessions earlier today, so realistically we have one shot left tomorrow morning. We'll work tonight to make sure we ready."

-tmr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino