Martino Motorsports Reflects on 2011 and Gearing Up for the 2012 Drag Racing Season

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From "Little Deuce Coupe" and "Two Lane Blacktop" to "American Graffiti" and "Heart Like a Wheel" - hot rod memories have sustained and entertained us since the first two motorized carriages stared down the same dirt road. Like two gunfighters compressing an entire lifetime of experience into a handful of seconds - drag racers focus their sights one quarter-mile at a time - living in a paradoxical world of controlled calm and explosive aggression.
Tom Martino and his son Ryan say their K&N second-generation composite dragster scoop with K&N air filter added an additional three mph to their dragster in the 1/4 mile in 2011.
Tom Martino and his son Ryan say their K&N second-generation composite dragster scoop with K&N air filter added an additional three mph to their dragster in the 1/4 mile in 2011.

Tom Martino and his son Ryan understand all too well about the compelling nature of drag racing and they thrive on it. The father-son duo says that racing brings their family closer together. "When we're together we're unstoppable," says Ryan.

Martino Motorsports is a family owned and operated NHRA drag racing team out of Youngstown, Ohio. Tom, a well respected and recognized fixture within the drag racing community for decades, began his drag racing career back in 1970, sneaking his daily driver out to Youngstown Ohio Drag City with his two brothers when he was barely 16.

When Tom was introduced to a white 1969 Dodge Dart GTS, by a close friend in the late 1970s, his dream of becoming a drag racer transformed into reality. Tom, his brothers and the Dart went on to set numerous NHRA, AHRA, and IHRA world records in Stock and Super Stock, as well as winning multiple events. In the winter of 1990, Tom unexpectedly sold the Dart, when he was doing a display for the Coors Brewing Company and Mancini Racing in Cleveland, Ohio. Within a few months, Tom had his first of three dragsters and the rest, as he likes to say, "Is history."

Ryan has been around drag racing all of his life, and began his drag racing career in 2002, when he earned his Super Comp license. Ryan has had the fortune of gaining some valuable seat time in their Top Dragster over the past few years and competing in the Sport Compact ranks with a hometown built Chevrolet Cavalier. In the summer of 2011 Ryan upgraded his NHRA competition license to Advance E.T., during the NHRA Lucas Oil Series Division 3 event at National Trails Raceway, and he looks forward to competing at select events in 2012.

The Martinos' partnership with K&N dates back to December of 2008 when the duo first met Bob Harris at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida. The long time fans of the K&N product lines were invited to join Team K&N for the 2009 race season. Martino Motorsports utilize the K&N second-generation composite dragster scoop with K&N air filter, which they say added an additional three mph to their dragster in the 1/4 mile in 2011.

Tom adds, "Why trust your precious hard-earned investments with anything else? Whether it's our 200-plus mph K&N Top Dragster, our daily drivers, tow vehicles, or even our generators and golf cart, we rely on K&N filters to get us through the most extreme conditions. K&N filters have out of the box performance with proven results you can trust."

Although Martino Motorsports has won countless races, finished in the top five of class points multiple times, set various world records, had the honor of representing some of the finest companies in the industry, and have received a collection of over fourteen Best Appearing Crew and Car awards in our careers, there's something else that gives them even greater fulfillment.

"Something far more rewarding to our program over the years has been using our platform to help increase seat-belt safety awareness, using our race car and real life experiences in a first-class video production with the American Red Cross," Tom told K&N. Their effective seat-belt production received national merits and nation-wide airplay.

"Also our multiple efforts with regional doctors and cancer survivors promoting prostate cancer awareness, speaking to grade school and high school students about the importance of staying in school and the values of an education, and multiple advertising campaigns to help prevent driving while under the influence of alcohol."

"2011 was quite the learning experience for our team," says Tom. "It was the first season with our new 640 cubic- inch engine combination. After chasing a few gremlins early in the season, and countless hours on the dyno with Dale Cubic of CFM Carbs and Dean Gellner of Gellner Engineering, we finally had the chance to see what a monster we created when our 1280+ horsepower single carb combination came to life at Summit Motorsports Park (Norwalk, Ohio) late May and recorded multiple low 6.80 passes on a mild one-stage Ny-Trex Nitrous Oxide Systems tune-up."

Recording career best E.T.'s and qualifying in the top half of their class most of the season, was very rewarding after all the countless hours the team put into straightening out their dragster early in the year. "Although we had numerous round wins and multiple quarter final appearances, we ended the season without a "Wally" to add to our mantle," adds Tom. "It's going to be a long winter, but 2012 will be our year. We look to compete in about 20 plus events in 2012. Our main focus will be to make a strong run for the NHRA Division 3 Lucas Oil Series title."

The Martinos and their K&N Top Dragster look to kick the 2012 season off at the NHRA Division 3 Lucas Oil Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana April 27-29.

Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit