Early Exit For Marks At Kentucky SPARTA, Ky (Wednesday, July 12, 2006) - - Justin Marks and his Shaver Motorsports team had a lot to be looking forward to last weekend at Kentucky Speedway. A week prior to the WLWT Channel 5-150, Marks set ...
Early Exit For Marks At Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky (Wednesday, July 12, 2006) - - Justin Marks and his Shaver Motorsports team had a lot to be looking forward to last weekend at Kentucky Speedway. A week prior to the WLWT Channel 5-150, Marks set the precedent in the open test session by leading the session and was named a pre-race favorite by the local media. Unfortunately, an early race incident left the rookie with a disappointing finish.
Heading into the event, Justin Marks announced Crocs, a leading company in footwear would sponsor his No. 2 Pontiac Grand Prix for his third event of the 2006 season.
[IMAGE]In practice, Marks maneuvered the 15th quickest lap with a time of 31.130 seconds at 173.466 mph. Marks comfortable placement didn't come without some hiccups.
Marks lost his shifter (transmission) early then near the end of the session, Marks fumbled into an innocent spin trying to make a qualifying run. Luckily, the No. 2 Crocs Racing machine wasn't scratched and Marks was looking forward to time trials.
"No doubt our practice was exciting," said Marks. "The team did an awesome job repairing the shifter and I just lost got a little loose during the qualifying run. Thankfully we still put down a solid lap and we're looking forward to the rest of the day."
In qualifying, things didn't go as planned. Marks's machine turned a lap of 31.861 seconds or 169.486 mph putting him 32nd on the grid, the last automobile into the race on speed. "I really don't know what happened," said the baffled driver following his two lap session. "I'm still really new at qualifying, but there's something that hinders me. I know I'll get better, I'm just really disappointed, because our car is a lot better than what we showed."
Marks had no time to fret over the qualifying results as race time quickly approached with the North Carolina native looking to put his Crocs Racing machine into the top-ten for the second time this season.
41 drivers took the green flag shortly after 9:00pm with Marks quickly on the march. His efforts were halted by the time he returned to the start-finish line as Phillip McGilton, Ryan Matthews and Jason Hedlesky were all involved in an accident. Marks had marched his way into the 25th position by the next time the green flag waived.
Marks continued to work his way through the field until an incident on lap 22 put the No. 2 team out of contention. On lap 22, Marks was racing hard with the No. 38 of Mike Harmon into turns one and two where the two made minor contact with both drivers continuing. As the duo headed into turn three, Harmon made contact with the rear of the Crocs Pontiac sending both drivers hard into the wall ending their nights.
Marks climbed from his machine under his own power disturbed but okay. "Man, I really don't know what happened. I didn't mean to make contact with Mike (Harmon) in one and two but I got pinched down there. The next thing I know I'm going into the wall. It's really disappointing and frustrating. We both had good cars and I know this accident could have been avoided."
[IMAGE]"Jeff (Buice, crew chief) and the rest of the Shaver Motorsports team really worked hard to prepare this car. We didn't have a good qualifying effort, so we had to be patience and work our way to the front. We were doing that. Now, we won't have the finish we were wanting or deserved. Our Crocs Racing machine is hurt and I hate it for everyone involved."
Marks was credited with a foul 36th place finish in his Kentucky Speedway debut.
In addition to Crocs, Spy Optic served as an associate sponsor as Marks made his fourth career ARCA start on Friday night.
For the next two weeks, Marks will return to familiar competition in the American Le Mans Series as a factory driver for BMW of North America. "I'm looking forward to returning to road racing," explained Marks. "I have another great team in the American Le Mans Series, hopefully I can have a little better luck this weekend and produce a good finish."
Next up for Marks and Shaver Motorsports is the Shop 'n' Save 150 from Gateway International Raceway on Friday, July 28th.
Following Gateway, Marks and the No. 2 Shaver Motorsports team will run three more events on the ARCA schedule at Nashville, Chicagoland and Talladega.