Tom Martino Gatornationals Preview

MARTINO TESTS WITH EYES ON GAINESVILLE WIN PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, March 1, 1998 - It is often said that knowledge is power. If this is true, the competition had better be wary of Tom Martino at this weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals in ...

MARTINO TESTS WITH EYES ON GAINESVILLE WIN

PARSIPPANY, New Jersey, March 1, 1998 - It is often said that knowledge is power. If this is true, the competition had better be wary of Tom Martino at this weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida. Prior to his arrival in the Sunshine State, Martino has scheduled two days of testing in Darlington, South Carolina. During that time, the Six Flags crew will make numerous runs with a variety of set-ups, changing everything from the clutch to the suspension. Their purpose will be to define the performance characteristics of their Pro Stock Firebird, allowing the team to make precise adjustments and extract the most from their racecar once at the NHRA event. Their goal is simple - to put the Six Flags Thrill Machine in the winner's circle.

"With only four chances to qualify, there's no room for experimentation once we're at the race," explained Martino. "This Six Flags Racing team is here to win, and the information we will gain from testing will allow us to dial in the performance on our Thrill Machine, no matter the conditions. As tough as the competition is in Pro Stock, we're going to work hard to stay on top!"

Winning the Gatornationals would carry special meaning for the New Jersey-based Six Flags team. As one of the oldest events on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing circuit, the Gainesville race is one of the most prestigious, and has become the traditional season's opener for East Coast straight-liners. In fact, prior to the start of their own careers, many of today's competitors (including Tom Martino) came to Florida to watch their heroes perform. To win the same event years later would be a cherished accomplishment.

"The Gatornationals was the traditional racing road trip for many of us on the East Coast," said Martino. "We would come here to watch the NHRA event, and go home to get ready to compete on our local tracks, always dreaming of making it here someday. Now, we're here with the Six Flags Racing team, and we can't wait to race!"

But victory is not easily gained, as Gainesville Raceway places a premium on performance. A favorite of racers and fans alike, it features a lightning-fast surface and sea-level elevation, perfect for the normally aspirated Pro Stockers. This fabled quarter-mile has yielded its share of record runs in every category, and offers the potential for more on every pass. This, in turn, places the burden squarely on the competitors' shoulders. To have a successful weekend, each run, whether in qualifying or eliminations, must be textbook perfect for machine and driver alike.

"Without a doubt, teams will have to be at their best this weekend," stated Martino. "If the conditions are right, this could be the fastest Pro Stock field in history, and every car entered is capable of qualifying. I wouldn't be surprised if the bump (a racing term for the slowest elapsed time necessary to qualify) was a 6.96 or 6.97. That's why this test is so important - we're planning on having the Six Flags Thrill Machine in the thick of things all weekend!"

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Martino