It looked like old home week in the winner’s circle as only Super Stock champ Brian Martel driving his SS/BS Cobalt was a first time winner at the 42 Annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
In fact, it wasn’t for Martel’s competition, the SS/CS Pontiac Grand Am of current Division One Champ James Antonette, red lighting in the final, it would have been all veterans winning as Martel’s Cobalt stopped at half track and was a sitting duck but some times you gotta have some luck to win and it was Martel’s day at Englishtown.
“I used up a years worth of good luck in the finals” said Brian after his win, “The car had been hooking up all day and in the final as the car left the line with the wheels up, the steering wheel came off in my hands and was in my lap before I could react. The front wheels were doing a Funny Car shake and I shut the car off before it got ugly” Brian continued “ It’s tight getting into the car and I have to take the steering wheel off to get in and it’s usually a push and click to get the wheel on, I guess it didn’t click the way it should”
Martel, who was runner up at last weeks Lucas Oil Divisional at Maple Grove had the unique position of getting two byes during eliminations, which didn’t hurt his route to the finals. “In a 81 car field there are a few qualifying positions that give a racer a chance for more than one bye, I was lucky and got one”
It wasn’t all easy sailing to the finals, as Brian had to get around some of the best Super Stock racers in D1 including the GT/GA Camaro of former Lucas champ Michael Iacono and Ron Morehead’s GT/FA Camaro.
“Winning the race was ridiculous, amazing, and unbelievable. My dad was here for my first win and that made it special.” Brian continues, “This is the third race with the car and my second final in two weeks. We ran the Richmond Lucas divisional and then had a runner up last week at Maple Grove. The car was all over the place at Maple but we got it quieted down for this race”
The Cobalt, an ex Anthony Bertozzi/East Texas car, had never gone as many rounds as the E Town event and Brian gives a lot of credit to engine builder Joe Clark for the win. In addition to Clark, Brian thanks his dad Karl Martel, his good friend JJ, and the Chiles family led by Dave Chiles and his daughter Michele.
Winning Comp Eliminator was multi time champ Arnie Martel from Tewksbury MA driving his SpeedCo D/AA Pontiac GTO. Arnie’s competition in the final was Churchville NY Professional Sportsman racer Dan Fletcher in the Rich Braun B/EA Cobalt. Fletcher got the better light but at the stripe it was Martel with a 0.496 under 7.574 to Fletch’s 0.402 under 7.808.
Reigning Lucas Oil Stock World Champ Joe Santangelo took his Bud Rowe D/SA Camaro to a win over Eric Cabral red lighting C/SA Firebird and former Lucas Champ Ray Sawyer from Acton MA won Super Gas over first time finalist Marc-Andre Piche-Nadeau (yeah he’s French Canadian) in a double breakout final. A 9.888 for Sawyer’s ’02 Camaro to a 9.882 for Piche-Nadeau’s ’68 Camaro.
Peter Biondo who has won in nearly every Sportsman class added Super Street to his resume as he beat 2011 E Town LODRS winner Chris Butcher in another double breakout race. Biondo’s ’69 Camaro ran a 10.887 to Butcher’s 10.883.
Franklin DiBartolomeo, who like Brian Martel, just missed a win at Maple Grove last weekend, took the family dragster to the Super Comp title at E Town defeating teammate and defending E Town champ Dave Heuwetter in the final in guess what? Another double breakout final. Dave dragster went a 8.879 to Franklin’s 8.883.