Facing No. 3 qualifier Ron Krisher in the first round of the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals, CENTURY 21 Pro Stock Grand Am pilot Tom Martino knew he would need a perfect run and a little luck in order to advance. As it turned out,...
Facing No. 3 qualifier Ron Krisher in the first round of the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals, CENTURY 21 Pro Stock Grand Am pilot Tom Martino knew he would need a perfect run and a little luck in order to advance. As it turned out, Martino's luck proved to be enough, as his opponent, most probably trying to anticipate one of Martino's trademark "leaves", left the starting line nearly four hundredths of a second early, thus handing the automatic win to the New Jersey native.
Martino's assignment did not get any easier in the second round, as he faced former Pro Stock champion Darrell Alderman. Once again delegated to the less-preferred right lane, Martino used one of the quickest reaction times of the day to gain the advantage by over two hundredths of a second at the start. However, despite posting a competitive 6.968 second elapsed time, it was not enough to hold off Alderman, who gained the narrow victory. Despite the loss, Martino was satisfied with the day's results, including his good fortune in the opening round.
"That's the first round that someone gave us in two years. In two seasons, we haven't had one that we shouldn't have won and did by the other guy making a mistake. It felt really good to get by the first round, and we really needed it, because we're struggling with the car. To be honest, we only qualified here because our motor program is getting back to where it should be and we had good power.
"It seemed as if we kept making the car worse throughout the weekend until the second round today. We made a lot changes, and even though the e.t. didn't reflect anything spectacular, it definitely brought us closer to knowing what our CENTURY 21 Grand Am wants. We were only three thousandths of a second behind the fastest car in the right lane, and we had the top speed in that lane as well. I feel a lot better heading into Phoenix, because I now believe we have something we can adjust off of."