Martino Pro Stocker Turns to Kansas
Mark Martino will make his third appearance of the 2012 season on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series this weekend at the Dollar General NHRA Summernationals in Topeka. Back in the fold also will be his dad, and team owner, Tony Martino, who missed the team’s last event in Charlotte due to business commitments.
After a more than month long layoff, Martino is ready to get back behind the wheel of his Jerry Haas built Pontiac GXP Pro Stocker, with this weekend marking the first time he’s competed at an NHRA event in Topeka. “I just can’t wait to get back to the race track and Topeka is a first class facility,” said an excited Martino. “We ran an ADRL race there back in 2010, qualified second and went to the semi’s. We have very realistic expectations going into our first NHRA event there but a mid-round finish isn’t out of the question given the performance we’ve seen from the car lately.”
Re-joining the team at Heartland Park in Topeka, Tony Martino brings his leadership with him and serves an even bigger role as an important part of Mark’s support system at the track. “My dad plays an important role with this team and we’re glad to have him back. It was tough for him not being able to make it to Charlotte and I definitely missed having him there since this is a father-son kinda deal,” acknowledged Martino.
Having qualified at both events they’ve entered thus far in 2012, Martino and team take to the track Friday afternoon for their first of four qualifying sessions as they pursue a spot in the exclusive 16-car field that will race during Sunday’s final eliminations.
The third year pro has achieved great things thus far competing on a limited basis in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, including recording his first round win at the 2012 Gatornational’s, beating two-time series champion Jason Line, and a clutch performance on his sports biggest stage at the 2011 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, where he qualified for the 16 car Pro Stock field, besting 13 other competitors, including six-time NHRA World Champion Warren Johnson and multi-time national event winner Larry Morgan, for one of the highly coveted spots.
Posted by:  Jory Elliott
Photo by:  Bruce Biegler