Indianapolis: Martino finals report

CENTURY 21 Grand Am pilot Tom Martino was cautiously optimistic entering Monday's final eliminations of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Another solid qualifying effort had landed Martino in the 12th position, and the entire team felt they had a...

CENTURY 21 Grand Am pilot Tom Martino was cautiously optimistic entering Monday's final eliminations of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Another solid qualifying effort had landed Martino in the 12th position, and the entire team felt they had a solid handle on their race car. Unfortunately, race day dawned warm and sunny, conditions that would reveal their Achilles heel.

Facing Jim Yates in the opening round without the advantage of lane choice, Martino knew he would need a near-perfect run from start to finish. The first part went according to plan, as the Farmingdale, NJ left the starting line over two hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent. However, his chances for an upset victory ended almost immediately, as his racecar experienced severe tire shake. With his rival on a smooth run in the other lane and seeing no chance of recovery, Martino elected to click the power off early and coast to the line.

"Today, we were thrown by a hot, slick racetrack. It simply shook right off the starting line, after which we didn't stand a chance. One of our problem areas right now is trying to get this particular race car off a bad starting line. To be honest, if we had it all to do over again, I can't guarantee we'd get it right.

"I know there are adjustments we would make, but it's something we obviously need to address. We'd like to work on it in testing, but unless Mother Nature cooperates, the conditions are hard to duplicate. Even so, we'll get this fixed. We have a weekend off before we go to Reading, which is our second "home" track, and we want to make sure our CENTURY 21 Grand Am ready to take on all challengers."

-tmr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino