For Century 21 Pro Stock Firebird pilot Tom Martino, Sunday's final eliminations proved to be a good news, bad news situation. After overcoming a pair of mechanical glitches to qualify 7th on his last attempt on Saturday, Martino was able to ...
For Century 21 Pro Stock Firebird pilot Tom Martino, Sunday's final eliminations proved to be a good news, bad news situation. After overcoming a pair of mechanical glitches to qualify 7th on his last attempt on Saturday, Martino was able to choose his lane for his first round encounter with Ron Krisher. Martino took full advantage of the situation, recording a 6.897-second elapsed time en route to the win. This set the stage for a second-round match-up with No. 2 qualifier Kurt Johnson, who had gained lane choice on the strength of a slightly quicker first-round e.t.. Despite gaining a slight advantage at the start, and running the top speed of eliminations at 200.47 mph, Martino's 6.925 was not enough to overcome his opponent's 6.912-second effort. Despite the setback, Martino felt good about his team's performance. "You're never happy when you lose, but I think we have things back on track. We made a good run to qualify, and backed that up with a solid effort in the first round. To be honest, our pass against KJ in the second round wasn't that bad. It could have been faster, but it wasn't. The good thing is that we know why. If we had been fortunate enough to advance to the next round, I guarantee we would have improved.
"I really don't think lane choice was a deciding factor. The left lane was definitely better, but I could have won in the right. Although that same run would have won on the left, it wasn't a one-lane racetrack out there today like we had in Houston. He had the advantage of the better lane, but he ran quicker in the first round and earned it.
"I think it was more significant that we only made one good run in qualifying. With more information, we probably would have qualified higher, and possibly been quick enough in the first round to get lane choice for the second. Starting behind the 8-ball as we did, we're pretty happy to run as well as we did.
"We're going to stay and test on Monday to see if we can get the Century 21 Firebird to handle the bumps a little better. After that, it's on to Atlanta, and quite frankly, we can't wait."