Harold Martin is Looking for Good Things in Gainesville The 2004 AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge gets underway this weekend as part of the NHRA's Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL, an event that could not come soon enough for...
Harold Martin is Looking for Good Things in Gainesville
The 2004 AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge gets underway this weekend as part of the NHRA's Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL, an event that could not come soon enough for ACDelco Grand Am pilot Harold Martin. Coming off a strong 2003 campaign, Martin and his crew spent the off-season finding ways to improve their program even further. Having made what they feel are significant gains, they are ready to build on their success, and anxiously await their return to action this weekend in the Sunshine State.
"We're pumped to get out there and begin our journey," said Martin. "You don't know how good you are until you stack yourself up against the best in the world, and the ACDelco Grand Am Racing team is excited to have that opportunity this weekend.
"We think we've done a lot in preparation for the 2004 season. We've been cautious and careful not to lose what we had at the end of last year, but, at the same time, we've rolled up our sleeves and worked really hard in the R & D department to develop some horsepower. Now we need to make sure we harness it and capitalize on it in prime time."
This event will mark Martin's first race at this legendary Florida facility, a task further complicated by the unique eight-car field used by the NHRA with the Pro Modified class.
"Clearly, in my mind a professional race has always started with sixteen cars," said Martin. "Having to compete in a field half that size requires a lot of skill and a certain amount of luck, so you have to have those fortunes tied together. With only an eight-car field, every run must be a great one.
"We'll enter this event with a certain degree of caution, because we can't say for sure that we have enough history under our belts to fully understand the NHRA tracks and track preparation. In addition, we don't have previous data on Gainesville Raceway to refer back to, so it brings a certain amount of humbleness to our approach. We're going to hope and pray that the weather is good and the track predictable. If not, we'll be behind the eight ball.
"With all things being equal, we're confident of having the performance to compete at this level. However, with only an eight car field, there is no room for error, with the No. 1 qualifier just as easily being fifteenth."
The 2004 season is shaping up to be a busy one for Martin, as he will be competing in two separate series. Although he will be running a limited number of events on the NHRA circuit, the man known as the "EFI Wizard" has a decided plan of attack, with both short and long-term objectives for his participation in the Pro Mod Challenge.
"Naturally, our first goal is to win races," stated Martin. "In addition, we are looking to add data to our records, giving us an even better baseline from which we can tune our ACDelco Grand Am. We are also looking to help our sponsor reach different demographics in new markets.
"Finally, we want to position ourselves so that if the NHRA does decide to make Pro Modified a fully professional category, we will have enough information to enter the series at a high level, and to not be at a disadvantage as we are now, having never run our set-up on their race tracks.
"Our NHRA campaign certainly will be a challenge, starting with this weekend in Gainesville, but we are quietly and cautiously optimistic."
Harold Martin Fast Facts:
* Career best elapsed time: 6.190 seconds (IHRA), Rockingham, NC 10/03
* Career best top speed: 226.01 mph (IHRA), Cayuga, Ontario, Canada, 7/03
* Nicknamed the "EFI Wizard" for his expertise in with electronic fuel injection, including the revolutionary system in his ACDelco Pro Mod Grand Am, which he designed.
* Former GM engineer and holder of 10 worldwide patents
Qualifying - Friday, March 20 - 10:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 21 - 10:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Final Eliminations - Sunday, March 21 - First Round at 11:00 a.m.