MARTINO PREPARES TO CLOSE SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE FARMINGDALE, NJ, November 3, 1997 - In late January, the NHRA's Winston Drag Series began its 1997 season at Pomona Raceway. Now, having traveled over thirty thousand miles and competed in ...
MARTINO PREPARES TO CLOSE SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE
FARMINGDALE, NJ, November 3, 1997 - In late January, the NHRA's Winston Drag Series began its 1997 season at Pomona Raceway. Now, having traveled over thirty thousand miles and competed in twenty-one national events during the last ten months, the circuit brings its season to a close with the running of the Winston Finals at the very same facility that hosted the opening race. Even though the championships in three of the four professional categories have been decided, several storylines shall unfold throughout the weekend, with every competitor having countless reasons to do well. The California curtain closer is the last chance for many participants to record a win in 1997. Others look for a strong showing to possibly salvage a disappointing season. Drivers and teams who have announced new arrangements for 1998 will be able to show their new employers that they made the right decision, while Pomona provides the perfect stage for those still searching for sponsorship. For Tom Martino and the MaMa Rosa's Pizza Pro Stock Racing team, the season finale is an opportunity to add some extra polish to an already shining season.
"Winning the Winston Finals would be doubly beneficial," explained Martino. "Not only would it put an exclamation point on a great 1997, but it wo= uld give this MaMa Rosa's Pizza Racing team tremendous momentum for the off-season, and next year's Winternationals."
The Martino Family team's preparations for the Winston Finals started even before their departure from Houston Raceway Park, as they removed the 500 cubic inch Steve Schmidt powerplant from their racecar and returned to the engine builder for one last going-over. With this task completed, however, the team and their MaMa Rosa's Pizza Firebird temporarily parted company, as arrangements had been made for someone to drive the transporter to the West Coast for them. The Martino crew took advantage of this well-deserved respite to return to New Jersey and tend to another vital component of their racing operation: themselves. The grueling ten-day Texas stay had involved running in back-to-back national events with two long days of testing sandwiched in between, which, at this late stage of the season, exacted a price for which the best remedy was time spent at home with friends and family, combined with a semi-regular work routine.
"The few days we return home, away from the intensity of competition, will allow us a chance to recharge our batteries," stated Martino. "This way, the MaMa Rosa's Pizza team will be fresh for the 'Finals!"
Even so, racing was never far from their minds, as recent performances were reviewed and discussed, with a strategy mapped out. With an early arrival planned in Pomona, there would be plenty of time to work on the car and implement any changes or adjustments before the first qualifying session on Thursday. The Martino crew may also be receiving some assistance from an unlikely source - Mother Nature. Long-range weather forecasts for the Los Angeles area are calling for higher, summer-like temperatures. These conditions will make the Pomona track surface more slippery, slowing the Pro Stockers, reducing power advantages and placing a premium on driver ability, where Martino excels. If these predictions hold, the chances for a third MaMa Rosa's Pizza Racing team victory are greatly enhanced.
"We're looking to make some noise in the Winston Finals," said Martino. "Between securing seventh place in the points and capturing the Slick 50 award (for most holeshot wins, where Martino currently leads), we have a lot at stake, and this entire MaMa Rosa's Pizza Racing team is ready to close out the season by celebrating - in the Winner's Circle!"
PIZZA POINTERS: Tom Martino will be making a personal appearance at RALPH'S GROCERY #171, 655 S. Grand Ave., Glendora, CA (626) 857-7700 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m..... Martino is seventh in the season's points standings.....Martino looks to capture the award for holeshot wins in all NHRA profesional categories for 1997, and currently leads with five.....Martino is one of only four drivers, including Warren and Kurt Johnson and Jim Yates to have captured multiple national event wins in Pro Stock, which is arguably the most competitive division in drag racing....The winner of the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, given to the rising star in drag racing who best exhibits the potential for future success will be announced at the NHRA awards banquet the day after the Winston Finals - Tom Martino is one of four finalists.
TV: TNN will have extensive coverage on Sunday November 9, starting with a 30 minute season review at 1:00 PM (EDT), immediately followed by an hour of live first round coverage during the NHRA Today show from 1:30 - 2:30 PM (EDT) and will conclude with ninety minutes of live final round coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).
LAST YEAR: Tom Martino qualified 10th (7.021), and was edged in the second round by Mark Pawuk.