Gainesville: Tom Martino Gatornationals final qualifying

Martino slots 15th for Sunday's Gatornationals Tom Martino experienced both ends of the racing spectrum during Saturday's final qualifying sessions for the Mac Tools Gatornationals. In the morning session, Martino rebounded from a tough Friday...

Martino slots 15th for Sunday's Gatornationals

Tom Martino experienced both ends of the racing spectrum during Saturday's final qualifying sessions for the Mac Tools Gatornationals. In the morning session, Martino rebounded from a tough Friday to post a solid 6.879-second elapsed time with a top speed of 200.80 mph, placing his Jesel Motorsports Grand Am in the 15th position for Sunday's final eliminations.

Unfortunately Martino was not as fortunate on his final attempt, as smoke billowing from his race car at the 1,000-foot mark indicated a major engine failure. As a result, the Martino will be forced to switch powerplants prior to their first round encounter with No. 2 qualifier Tommy Hammonds.

"We made some major changes to the race car for this morning's run. We put in a different clutch set-up, moved around some weight, adjusted the four-link and did some things to the transmission. To be honest, even though we were happy that our time got us in the show, we felt it was only a decent run with plenty of room for improvement.

"We came back in the afternoon session trying to make a better run. Unfortunately, not only was our performance off from the morning, but we also ended up blowing the motor. Looking at the computer afterwards, it's apparent that even without the engine problem, it would have only run a 6.92.

"The bottom line is that we qualified and have a lot of work ahead of us tonight. We'll put in another motor that we used during our test session in Bradenton a few days ago. It performed pretty well then, and we're hoping it will do the same tomorrow. I guarantee this Jesel Motorsports Grand Am will be in racing trim in the morning."

-jm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino