Challenging Day at Texas Prepares Marks, Win-Tron for Talladega Ft. Worth, TX (April 20, 2010)- Proven talent behind the wheel is something that every car owner and team hopes for. Justin Marks' run at Texas Motor Speedway last Friday night in...
Challenging Day at Texas Prepares Marks, Win-Tron for Talladega
Ft. Worth, TX (April 20, 2010)- Proven talent behind the wheel is something that every car owner and team hopes for. Justin Marks' run at Texas Motor Speedway last Friday night in his Win-Tron Racing- powered machine showed his team that he is ready and capable to handle whatever situation is thrown his way.
Making his 45th career ARCA Racing Series start at Texas, Marks began the weekend by setting a blazing fast speed on Thursday afternoon in the only practice session the series saw before the 150-mile event. With a time of 28.908 seconds, Justin topped the charts for the day. He also bested the pole speed Frank Kimmel posted the last time ARCA visited Texas in 1998 by more than 13 mph, hitting a top speed of 186.8 mph. Though he didn't get the chance to show off his hot rod in qualifying due to a rain washout, Marks was able to take advantage of starting on the outside of the second row by virtue of last season's car owner point standings. After the No. 59 of McCumbee dropped to the rear before the green flag, Justin was able to move up one more row to start second.
It didn't take long for the driver to maneuver his No. 32 Construct Corps Toyota Camry around pole sitter Nelson Piquet on the first lap and into the lead. Though he reported a bad vibration in the motor, Marks continued to parade the field around the 1.5-mile facility for the next 39 laps before the caution flag flew for an on-track incident. Four fresh tires and a few minor chassis adjustments were made on pit road, and Marks found himself restarting fourth in the field.
A turn for the worse in the handling of the racecar after the restart left Justin to deal with a "wrecking loose" condition as he continued to click off the laps. He was able to hang on until lap 69 when he went for a loop on the front stretch. Marks later commented he may have had a bad right rear tire that put him in that situation, and did all he could to keep the car off the fence. The pit crew once again gave the car fresh rubber and fuel and sent their driver back out to work.
Marks didn't let the vibration or spin slow him down, as he began picking off his competitors immediately after rejoining the field. With less than 30 laps remaining, he made his way from just outside the top ten to the fourth spot before the final caution period with three laps to go. Though smoke began to escape from the exhaust pipes of the Construct Corps machine to signal the expiration of the engine was near, Justin held it all together to finish the day in fourth.
"I'm proud of the effort of this team," Marks stated. "We had some adversity thrown at us during the race and everyone responded really well. We had a car that was capable of winning and had to run really hard to overcome the engine issues all race long. I feel fortunate the motor held on to the checkered flag- I don't think we would have made it one more lap.
"It's a good thing to be frustrated with a fourth place finish. All things considered, it was a decent day given all the problems we had to overcome."
The top-five finish kept Justin within close striking distance of the new points leader Steve Arpin, sitting in second place just 10 markers behind the lead.
"Justin did a phenomenal job in Texas. We had a fast racecar and he didn't lose his focus when the motor began to vibrate or when the car broke loose and he spun. Justin knew that he had a car capable of getting back to the front and he showed it," car owner Nate Thiesse explained following the event.
"He just proves that we have the right man for the job."
This weekend Justin and the team will travel to Talladega Superspeedway for ARCA Racing Series competition on the 2.66-mile asphalt giant. This Friday's event will be the fifth career appearance for Marks, with a best finish thus far of eighth in 2007.
"I always have mixed feelings about racing on the restrictor plate tracks. I'm looking forward to it because we have a really good car that I was happy with at the test, but at the same time there's so much luck involved in finishing well. I'm not a big fan of racing at places where there's so much out of your control, but we can embrace the challenge and prepare for it and hopefully have a good solid day," Justin expressed.
"We need to just focus on top-fives every week. More wins will come and we'll be able to fight for this championship right down to the wire."
Win-Tron will be bringing the same Toyota Camry Marks finished 11th with at the season-opening race at Daytona in February. The team enjoyed success last year with driver Kelly Bires behind the wheel; qualifying third and leading 35 laps en route to a ninth place finish.
"Restrictor plate racing is alwaysexciting but there are no guarantees," Thiesse commented. "Justin has plenty of experience at Talladega and we feel like we're going to give him a competitive car, but anything can happen at Talladega. We just need to try and stay out of the big one and hope for a good finish."