Martino Phoenix preview (Pro Stock)

MARTINO IS CONFIDENT OF EXTENDING HIS THRILL MACHINE RIDE IN PHOENIX PARSIPPANY, NJ, February 15, 1998 - One of the key elements in the make-up of a successful race car driver is confidence. To reach the professional level of the NHRA's ...

MARTINO IS CONFIDENT OF EXTENDING HIS THRILL MACHINE RIDE IN PHOENIX

PARSIPPANY, NJ, February 15, 1998 - One of the key elements in the make-up of a successful race car driver is confidence. To reach the professional level of the NHRA's Winston Drag Racing Series, every participant must have outstanding skills, a talented supporting cast and an indefatigable will to win. Therefore, a driver's self-assurance can often be the primary separator on an otherwise level playing field. Heading into this weekend's ATSCO Nationals, Six Flags Theme Parks Pro Stock Firebird driver Tom Martino's level of confidence is high for several reasons.

First, the Farmingdale, NJ native is looking to build upon the momentum gained from the successful debut of his Six Flags Thrill Machine in Pomona. Second, the event will be run at Firebird International Raceway, which is located just outside of Phoenix. This facility has proven kind to Martino in his brief professional career. Not only has he qualified for both events entered, but the Arizona quarter-mile is the site of the Six Flags pilot's first final round appearance, achieved during his rookie season in 1996. With a good starting line, it is well suited to Martino's lightning-fast reaction times.

"This Six Flags Racing team is looking for a good weekend in Phoenix," said Martino. "We've had some success at this track, and we're confident of giving our competition a run for the money."

Another factor buoying the Thrill Machine team's confidence is their 500 cubic-inch powerplant. Being in the first year of an in-house engine development program, the three week interval between races represented the first opportunity for the Martino Racing team to evaluate their handiwork after its use in competition, and they took full advantage. Following the Pomona event, the engine was shipped back to the team's East Coast headquarters. After an initial dynamometer test to establish its performance, Martino and crew chief Tom Kling completely disassembled the motor, examining each part for signs of wear. It was then painstakingly rebuilt, and again run on the dynamometer, where an improvement was detected. The additional horsepower will be welcomed in Phoenix, where cool temperatures and low humidity combine to create ideal conditions for the normally aspirated Pro Stock machines. With a clean bill of health, the engine was sent to Arizona, where it will be installed in the Six Flags Pontiac's engine bay prior to qualifications.

Finally, the Six Flags Theme Parks Racing team will take the copious notes and computer data generated during their test session in Houston and at the Winternationals and carefully analyze them. This routine procedure becomes even more important when a team is dealing with a new race car, as is the Martino crew with their Thrill Machine. Any changes or improvements deemed necessary will be incorporated once the team re-unites with their Pro Stock Firebird in Arizona. It's all part of the on-going process necessary to adjust their car to the conditions and maximize its performance.

"Everybody on our Six Flags team is committed to being the best, and we're just going to keep digging" stated Martino. "We're looking to ride our Six Flags Thrill Machine all the way to the winner's circle!"

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino