NHRA: Martino Set to Hit a "Home" Run in Englishtown
14 May 1998Parsippany, New Jersey - Throughout the 22 events which comprise the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season, every team works long and hard to gain an advantage on their opposition. Countless hours are spent searching for horsepower, handling or anything that will provide them with a means to defeat their rivals and reach the winner's circle. At the Mopar Parts Nationals, Tom Martino and his Six Flags Theme Parks Racing Team will have such an edge, something none of the other regulars on the Pro Stock circuit can claim. This weekend's event is on Martino's "home court", Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The Englishtown asphalt is not only located minutes from Martino's home and race shop, it is the birthplace of his drag racing career.
"Coming to Englishtown every year is a special treat for the entire Six Flags Racing Team," stated Martino. "This is where it all began, from watching my father to learning how to race. We have a lot of fans who remember us from the very beginning, and have stayed with us over the years. Their support means a lot to this team. To win the Pro Stock title here would be incredible."
But the competition has little room for sentiment, and the home track benefit quickly dissipates without performance. With near sea level elevation and an outstanding racing surface, the Raceway Park quarter-mile has shown itself capable of handling tremendous speeds, demanding the very best from those who compete. Therefore, Martino's crew has been hard at work since the last event in Dallas. The brief period before Englishtown offered the first real opportunity for the team to go over their Six Flags Thrill Machine in over a month. Each of the three race motors was thoroughly tested on the dynamometer to assure they were delivering every bit of 1,200+ horsepower. Adjustments were made to the new nose which had been installed, reflecting their on-track experience. Additional subtle changes were made throughout the race car, aimed at extending their run of impressive showings, which has allowed the Martino Firebird to claw its way into the Top Ten of arguably the most competitive professional category in all motorsports. Finally, their work complete, the Six Flags crew will head south to participate in a Pro Stock event in Budds Creek, Maryland, which will serve the dual role of test session and pre-race barometer, as many of the top "doorslammers" are expected to attend. But the focus for the week remains squarely on "E-town", where Martino has many reasons for wanting to do well.
"We treat every race on the schedule exactly the same," explained Martino. "Our primary concern is to place our Six Flags Thrill Machine in the top half of the elimination ladder and win rounds. That's why we're here. But we can't deny there's extra motivation at Englishtown. Besides racing in front of our families, friends and many long time fans, Raceway Park is also a home track for our sponsor, Six Flags Theme Parks. The best way to show everybody our appreciation is treating them to a win, and that's our goal. We're looking to make it a thrilling Sunday!"
An estimated 85 percent of all Americans live within a day's drive of the 12 Six Flags parks at eight locations: Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Dallas/Ft. Worth); Six Flags Over Georgia (Atlanta); Six Flags at St. Louis; Six Flags Houston, which includes Six Flags AstroWorld and Six Flags WaterWorld; Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Wild Animal Park (Jackson, NJ); Six Flags California, which include Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Los Angeles); Six Flags Great America (Chicago/Milwaukee); and Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio). Six Flags Theme Parks World Wide Web site is located at (http:www.sixflags.com).