In the first two rounds of the Sears Craftsman Nationals, Tom Martino and the CENTURY 21 Firebird Racing Team experienced opposite sides of a particular facet in the drag racing spectrum. After qualifying 14th, Martino had the unenviable task on...
In the first two rounds of the Sears Craftsman Nationals, Tom Martino and the CENTURY 21 Firebird Racing Team experienced opposite sides of a particular facet in the drag racing spectrum. After qualifying 14th, Martino had the unenviable task on Saturday of facing current Pro Stock points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the first round of eliminations. His assignment was made even tougher by the fact that, as the lower qualified car, Martino would be relegated to the less-preferred right lane. However, Martino quickly negated his opponent's advantage by grabbing the lead at the start with a stellar .411 reaction time, which when combined with his 7.031-second elapsed time was more than enough to overcome Coughlin's quicker run and score the upset win.
Martino then faced Greg Anderson, who had also taken out a higher qualified opponent in the first round. Running once again on the right side, Martino recorded one the best passes of eliminations in the bad lane and his best run of the event, blasting down the quarter-mile in 6.986 seconds with a top speed of 197.08 mph. In an ironic twist, this outstanding effort went for naught, as Anderson used a perfect .400 reaction time to just hold off Martino at the finish line. "Rounds like that have started me wondering what it's going to take to win a race this year. We were a little heavy on the clutch in the first round, and it shook the tires really hard. We fixed it for the next round, and the CENTURY 21 Firebird had its best run of the weekend. I'm happy with the way I drove today. I did everything I wanted to do. The .450 light against Greg (Anderson) was fine, he just did a better job. Even so, I sure would have liked a shot at Warren in the semis, because I think we could have run even better.
"But we'll take what we learned here and go on to Bristol. First, we'll try not to make the same mistakes in qualifying, which will put us in a better position on race day than we were here. After that, we'll see what we can do about taking home Winston's fifty thousand dollars."