Houston: Martino's strong start is not enough

Date: Sunday, March 25, 2001 Location: Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, TX After qualifying 9th for the final eliminations of the O'Reilly Nationals, Tom Martino knew he would have a tough challenge in round one. His opponent, Kurt Johnson had ...

Date: Sunday, March 25, 2001
Location: Houston Raceway Park, Baytown, TX

After qualifying 9th for the final eliminations of the O'Reilly Nationals, Tom Martino knew he would have a tough challenge in round one. His opponent, Kurt Johnson had qualified within eight thousandths of a second of Martino's time, and would have the advantage of choosing his lane. However, after completing his best qualifying effort of the season to date, the CENTURY 21 Grand Am Racing Team was confident of being able to do what was necessary to advance.

When the lights turned green, Martino used a strong .455 reaction time to gain the advantage by five hundredths of a second. However, as the two cars streaked down the Baytown quarter-mile, it became apparent that Johnson was quickly making up the deficit, and Martino's 6.920-second, 200.17 mph run was not enough to hold off his opponent.

"That was our first bad run in five attempts, and it bit us. I think that was caused by a combination of things. Our short times from last night may not have been as good as they should have been, and we didn't make the right changes for today. For example, I believe we misread the track and we may have tried to squeeze one run too many out of our tires. Not only should we have put on another set of tires, but we should have taken a little gear ratio away instead of putting some in. As a result, we ran a 1.03 sixty-foot time, and we haven't been that bad in a while.

"But we're still encouraged by the progress we've made with the CENTURY 21 Grand Am. Hopefully, we'll go on to Vegas and make eight good runs instead of five."

-J2Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Tom Martino