Ross Martin used a solid start and quick charge to the front, to earn his first victory of the season aboard his Jack Link’s Beef Jerky/Dupont/Polaris at the Vision Kia Eastern Nationals. Arctic Cat’s Dan Ebert pulled the holeshot in front of a capacity crowd as the Pro Stock class opened the weekend in what went down as the most significant race of the year.
Martin endured heavy traffic on the opening lap and began to pressure Ebert shortly into the main event, with Garth Kaufman settling into third. “I got off the start, not the best jump, I was sandwiched between everyone and the snow dust just hung in the air,” said Martin. “I couldn’t really see until we were coming back down the straight toward the finish line. I just kept looking ahead going forward trying to get to the front as quick as I could.”
The biggest surprise, perhaps of the season, was Tucker Hibbert’s qualifying performance and poor start in the main. Hibbert was the number seven qualifier and was mired at mid pack on the opening lap. He quickly worked his way to fourth, before falling off and dropping near the back of the field.
Roughly one third of the way into the main, Martin passed Ebert and would not be challenged the rest of the way. Tim Tremblay was near the lead group for much of the race before having issues that dropped him back. He was able to regain his composure and used a late race surge to capture third behind Martin and Kaufman. Hibbert also put on a late race charge to get the fifth and salvage valuable points. Martin, thanks to his consistent qualifying all season, is now tied with Hibbert in the title chase, with Tremblay only 20 points out.
With the second place monkey off his back, Martin is even more motivated. “I can’t even explain what this means,” said Martin. “The momentum for the team, for me as a racer, it’s going to make the second half of the season even more fun.”