When Tom Martino rolled to the line for Saturday morning's qualifying session, it was the result of a yeoman effort by the CENTURY 21 Racing Team. In Friday evening's time trial, Martino's Pro Stock Firebird suffered such severe tire shake...
When Tom Martino rolled to the line for Saturday morning's qualifying session, it was the result of a yeoman effort by the CENTURY 21 Racing Team. In Friday evening's time trial, Martino's Pro Stock Firebird suffered such severe tire shake that it snapped the wishbone, a crucial part of the rear suspension which, among other things, keeps the rear end centered throughout the run. In addition, the sideways movement of the rear end caused by this unusual failure created ancillary damage which included breaking the driveshaft. As a result, the Martino team stayed late into Friday night returning their race car to racing condition.
Fortunately, the crew's late-night heroics paid off, as Martino was able to record the 4th quickest pass of the round, with his 6.953-second, 198.79 mph blast placing him 5th with one session remaining on Saturday afternoon. "We really had our backs against the wall on this one. Although I've seen it happen a couple of times throughout my career, I've never had a wishbone snaps like ours did last night. As if that wasn't enough, when the rear end kicked back and forth it took out the driveshaft as well. With the amount of work we had to do, it was an accomplishment just making it to the line for this morning's session, but we knew it would probably be our best shot at making the field.
"I think it's a real testament to this entire Century 21 crew that not only we were able to get our Firebird ready for this morning's session, but to run so well and get in the show. Ironically, I think we found some things in our car while we were fixing it that may have been causing us some of the problems we'd been fighting for the last few races. Hopefully, this is the start of good things for us."