Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 | Page 42


Slick New Look

Tom Martino , Martino Motorsports partner with Lucas for new ProCharger-powered Top Dragster By Rob King

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 ,” said Tom . “ Nearly a decade ago , 50-plus 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 quartermile competition and 25-plus drivers battled to qualify for a 16-car field with a 4.10-4.20 bump spot in eighth-mile PDRA competition . Now , 6.20s in the NHRA and 3.90s in the PDRA are barely fast enough to qualify for race day .”
When looking at their options , the Martinos weighed every choice carefully before coming to a decision .
“ The decision was actually pretty simple ,” said
Ryan , who serves as the crew chief . “ 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 ProCharger . 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 .”
To accompany their new power plant for 2023 , the Martinos also put into service a brand-new Maddox-built rear-engine dragster .
“ Since Mac Sherrill of Mac Sherrill Race Cars retired , we had a tough time deciding whose chassis we wanted to pair with the PAR ProCharger ,” Tom said . “ 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 .”
Supporting the Martinos in their new build
is Lucas , a storied brand in motorsports that is continuing its partnership with the father-son duo to help spread the message that they offer more than just oil .
“ The livery of our new race vehicle will feature the same ‘ Lucas ’ branding as recent NASCAR Cup Series winner Kyle Busch ,” Tom said . “ We ’ ve had a great relationship with Lucas Oil Products Inc . over the years and they seemed like the perfect fit for this project .”
“ 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 highperformance greases , gear lubes , and problemsolving additives just to name a few ,” Ryan added . “ 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 and on our daily drivers , auxiliary equipment , boat , and all aspects of our race program . Take it from us , Lucas Works !”
The Martinos also receive support from 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 .
The Martinos debuted their new car at the season-opening PDRA East Coast Nationals at GALOT Motorsports Park in late March .
“ 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 ,” said Tom . “ We have spent countless hours , days , and nights putting this project together since November .”

“ 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 ,” concluded Ryan . DI pro stock to pro street shifting gears is just more fun !

ramclutches . com | 803.788.6034 johnny pluchino - pdra EXTREME PRO STOCK WORLD CHAMPION
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