At the end of the 2022 race season, former Top Dragster World Champion Tom Martino and his son Ryan knew it was time to trade in the nitrous bottle to embark in a new challenge for 2023.
“Don’t get me wrong, our nitrous campaign was a very rewarding experience yielding a host of wins in NHRA and PDRA competition, but we simply ran out of ‘bottle’ to keep up with the competition. Nearly a decade ago, 50+ Top Dragster drivers threw the kitchen sink at their engine combinations to qualify for a 32-car field with a 6.80-6.90 bump spot in NHRA ¼ mile competition and 25+ drivers battled to qualify for a 16-car field with a 4.10-4.20 bump spot in 1/8th mile PDRA competition. Now, 6.20s in the NHRA and 3.90s in the PDRA are barely fast enough to qualify for race day”, states driver Tom Martino.
“The decision was actually pretty simple. We dropped our nitrous engine off at PAR Racing Engines for upgrades at the end of October, had a lunch meeting with Scott Duggins and the Team at PAR, and by the first of November we unanimously agreed it was time to trade in the bottle for a Pro Charger. PAR builds a very fast, durable, and consistent Pro Charged engine combination… that’s exactly what we need to put us in the best position possible to contend for another World Championship in 2023”, states Race Engineer Ryan Martino.
The Race Vehicle
To accompany their new power plant for 2023, the Martinos will also be debuting a brand-new Maddox built rear-engine dragster with the support of Lucas.
“Since Mac Sherrill of Mac Sherrill Race Cars retired, we had a tough time deciding whose chassis we wanted to pair with the PAR Pro Charger. We have great friends who own and/or manage chassis shops across the United States, but ultimately it came down to PAR’s relationship with Maddox Race Cars. Maddox is known for their lineage of championship drivers and proven race winners over the years, most of whom also utilize PAR Racing Engines. We are very familiar with Maddox’s craftsmanship and how great their dragsters perform in Top Dragster trim. We are confident we made the right choice with Maddox and can’t wait to compete for the top spot in 2023”, adds Tom.
More Than Oil
“The livery of our new race vehicle will feature the same ‘Lucas’ branding as recent NASCAR Cup Series winner Kyle Busch. We’ve had a great relationship with Lucas Oil Products, Inc. over the years and they seemed like the perfect fit for this project”, states Tom.
“It’s important to note that Lucas carries a full catalog of products that go beyond their championship proven oil line, including the world’s #1 fuel additives for gasoline and diesel applications, top tier car care products, and a variety of high-performance greases, gear lubes, and problem solving additives just to name a few. We’ve utilized Lucas products since the early 1990s and continue to use a wide variety of their 270 formulations around the house, around the shop, in / on our daily drivers, auxiliary equipment, boat, and all aspects of our race program. Take it from us, Lucas Works!” adds Ryan.
Joining Lucas, are returning marketing partners Salt Life, K&N Filters, Mickey Thompson Tires, Sonnax Performance, Aim Transportation Solutions, Lyden Oil Company, NGK Spark Plugs, Strange Engineering, Rossler Transmissions, XS Power Batteries, Fel-Pro Performance Gaskets, PAR Racing Engines, R&R Auto Body, Exotic Fabrication, and Pier Graphics.
“We will debut our brand-new Lucas backed Top Dragster at this weekend’s 2023 PDRA East Coast Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park. We plan to make a strong run for the PDRA Elite Top Dragster World Championship this season and will compete in a variety of NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events throughout the year which may also align us in a position for a NHRA North Central Division championship. Whether you’re at the track or in the comfort of your home, you can always follow our adventures and road to the 2023 title @MartinoMotorsports on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube. We have spent countless hours, days, and nights putting this project together since November. It will all be worth it when we get the opportunity to drop the hammer for the first time on March 30, 2023”, concludes Tom.
“Lastly, we would like to thank Robert Vogler of RV3 Motorsports for safely delivering our new race vehicle to snowy Ohio in December, Matt Levonas of Levonas Art for helping with the design of our 2023 livery, and Ryan Burba of Always Fresh Design for the incredible work on the vehicle wrap”, concludes Ryan.
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