Houston: Martino slots Century 21 Grand Am in ninth

Tom Martino put together his best qualifying package of the year at this weekend's O'Reilly Nationals. In each of the four qualifying sessions, Martino posted a solid elapsed time, and improved his top speed on each pass. His best e.t. of ...

Tom Martino put together his best qualifying package of the year at this weekend's O'Reilly Nationals. In each of the four qualifying sessions, Martino posted a solid elapsed time, and improved his top speed on each pass. His best e.t. of 6.878-seconds came in Saturday's early session, while the Farmingdale, NJ native posted his fastest top speed of 200.05 mph on his last attempt. This represented Martino's best qualifying effort of this young season and placed the CENTURY 21 Grand Am in the 9th position for Sunday's final eliminations. Martino will face good friend and No. 8 qualifier Kurt Johnson in the first round as he looks to repeat his winning performance at this event from 1997.

"We knew after our last run in Gainesville that we were happy with our CENTURY 21 Grand Am, and that we were looking forward to coming to Houston. As I said yesterday, this is the first time in quite a while that we left one track and came to another, made a minor adjustment and ran well right out of the box.

"What's encouraging is that two of our runs here this weekend weren't very good, and still they were pretty fast. The run we made this morning was a good one - if we done that last night, we would have been in the Top Five. But I can't complain about our results so far this weekend. We basically left the car alone and made some changes to the engine, and it definitely responded. We'll try a little more of the same for tomorrow, and hopefully beat my good friend Kurt Johnson. After all, when I won my first race here in 1997, one of the people I had to defeat was KJ - maybe it will be the start of a good day!"

Meanwhile Jerry Haas, at the controls of Martino's team car, completed qualifying with his best run of the weekend. However, his 6.980-second, 197.65 effort was not enough to place him among the top sixteen for Sunday's final eliminations.

"I really enjoyed being able to work with Tom, Robin and the whole Martino team in Houston this weekend," said Haas. "Driving the CENTURY 21 Grand Am this weekend was like it was before - just climb in and let the clutch out. I think this car has a lot of potential, and I hope my driving it this weekend helped the team out."

-J2Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Tom Martino , Jerry Haas