Martino Primed for Big Indy Weekend

Ontario racer looks to add to family memories during this weekend’s NHRA Mac Tool U.S. Nationals…

Mark Martino will bring his Charter Communications Pro Stock Car to the 58th running of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals this weekend with one goal in mind; to add to the vast array of family memories he has accumulated from attending the legendary race, which takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana every year over the Labor Day Weekend.
“Indy will always have a special place in my heart because of my family vacations there,” said a reflective Martino. “The first time I came to this race I was three years old, and we came every year until 1996.” That ended a 13 year streak of attending the “Big Go” as spectators for the Martino family. And although they did attend the event a couple more times in the years following, it is the 2011 edition of the event that now stands out as the most monumental in forming the bond the Martino family has with the fabled Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. “After qualifying at last year’s race, I can say that this place will always be special to me for a lot of reasons.”
Mark Martino and his dad, Tony, saw a big part of their lifelong dreams come to fruition when they qualified at the U.S. Nationals in 2011. “Qualifying last year was probably the biggest achievement in my racing career,” noted Martino. “It was a special moment. If you’re gonna qualify, Indy’s the place to do it.” Martino out-qualified some of the best in the business last year when he put his Pontiac GXP in the number 15 spot, ahead of 6-time NHRA champion Warren Johnson and multi-time NHRA national event winner Larry Morgan.
Heading into this weekend’s race there is great optimism that Martino will once again add to the list of memories he has from attending the most prestigious drag race in the world. With Cagnazzi Racing engines now under the hood, which powered Martino to a career best 12th qualifying position in Brainerd two weeks ago, and the consistency with which Martino drove the race car during eliminations at that same event, expectations are high for the family owned and operated team.
Qualifying for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus gets underway Friday, August 31st, with the first of five qualifying sessions for professional competitors scheduled for 5:30 PM. Final eliminations are scheduled for Monday September 3rd, the only event in the 23 race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series that features a holiday Monday finale.
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Photo by: Jim Kampmann 
Posted by:  Jory Elliott