Tom Martino and the CENTURY 21( Pro Stock Firebird Racing Team got the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season off to a great start with a semi-final finish in this weekend's AutoZone Winternationals in Pomona, CA. After qualifying 3rd, Martino ...
Tom Martino and the CENTURY 21( Pro Stock Firebird Racing Team got the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season off to a great start with a semi-final finish in this weekend's AutoZone Winternationals in Pomona, CA. After qualifying 3rd, Martino extended his string of strong performances with a 6.940-second, 200.17 mph pass in an opening round victory over a red-lighting Mike Trumble.
Martino's good fortune continued in the second round when Greg Anderson also fouled, handing the automatic win to the Farmingdale, NJ native. However, his 6.967-second elapsed time was not enough to secure lane choice for his semi-final encounter with Jeg Coughlin. For the third time of the event, Martino once again topped 200 mph against the younger Coughlin brother, but it was not enough to overcome his opponent's quicker elapsed time, ending Martino's hopes for a win.
Despite falling short of his first title of the season, Martino took heart in his performance, especially the fact that he was the only competitor in Pro Stock to record a top speed over 200 mph. This marks the first time in over two years that someone other than defending champion Warren Johnson posted the top speed in this division at a national event.
"In the first two rounds today, we survived on driving and pure horsepower. We finally made the right adjustments for the semi-finals. I wish we had made that good of a run one round earlier, so we could have used it to adjust our car for the run against Jeg. You can't take anything away from the Jeg's guys, because they did an awesome job all weekend long. The car that won the race is the one that should have.
"Having said that, I believe we could have been every bit as fast as they were. Our Firebird and CENTURY 21( Racing team are as good and we have the power they have. We just didn't get from point A to point B as well as they did today.
"But no matter the final results, we can't be too upset with our showing here this weekend. For example, we're leaving here with more points than we had leaving Phoenix one year ago. It's also been a while since someone other than Warren Johnson left the track with the top speed of the event. We learned some things today that won't make the competition too happy in Arizona."