Canada’s Martino Motorsports – On the Verge!

By:       Bruce Biegler

It’s certainly very big news for Canadian drag racing fans.   Canada is now on the cusp of having one of its very own racers back within NHRA’s Pro Stock racing ranks….

 The father and son racing team of Tony and Mark Martino (Stoney Creek, ON) have confirmed that they have been accepted for entry for the upcoming NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, MN, coming mid August.   If things go according to plan after that, their all new RJ Race Cars built GXP will also see action at Indy and at Maple Grove later this summer. 

Martino Motorsports GXP - Coming Soon!

“The car is done and it is sitting at our other shop in Michigan,” confirmed Mark Martino, whose rise though the ranks of Fast Street racing and then Mountain-motor Pro Stockers has been impressive.  “Our plan is to test the car for the first time in early August and then head to Brainerd.”

 The Martino’s have aligned themselves with Richard Freeman’s Oklahoma-based Elite Performance group.  That soon to be three-car consortium also includes “young gun” drivers Rickie Jones and Richie Stevens.  The Martino’s have a three race engine lease deal with Elite Performance, which is overseen by talented builder/tuner Jimmy Oliver.

“I’m looking forward to interacting with Rickie and Richie,” Mark added.  “These 500 CID cars are a lot different to drive then a Mountain-motor car.  The 1-2 shift comes much quicker and you are also in high gear a lot sooner.  I expect I can benefit from some good advice.”

For Mark Martino (who is 31 years old) the opportunity to become the first Canadian NHRA Pro Stock racer in about two decades (since Albain Gautier and Mike Papadamou) is very exciting for him.

“This really is a dream come true for my Dad and I – it’s something we have wanted to do forever,” Mark continued.  “We realize it will be tough just to qualify – but just getting there is a big accomplishment for us.   Our objective is to just get our feet wet this season and begin working our way forward.   We would like to shift our focus for 2011 and run about 10 NHRA races next season.”

Martino reported that RJ Race Cars did an awesome job on his new GXP.  In fact it is an identical piece to what was built for Rickie Jones.

He also confirmed that while his appearance at NHRA Brainerd is 100%, his entry for Indy is still subject to approval because of NHRA’s quota on Pro cars per event.   

“I would say it’s likely – about 90%,” Mark added.

 The Martino Motorsports effort is a 100% self-funded one, financed by two very successful Companies; DeSantis Crane (owned by Mark) and Ramco Installation (owned by Tony).