Dodging Bullets at Mansfield Results in Another Top-10 for Marks Mansfield, OH (July 19, 2010)- Stepping into the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards points lead once again last weekend at Iowa Speedway, 29-year-old Justin Marks...
Dodging Bullets at Mansfield Results in Another Top-10 for Marks
Mansfield, OH (July 19, 2010)- Stepping into the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards points lead once again last weekend at Iowa Speedway, 29-year-old Justin Marks and his Win-Tron Racing team brought a special Tim Richmond-themed No. 32 Construct Corps Dodge to Mansfield Motorsports Park this Saturday, looking for nothing less than a win. The team brought back their short-track rocket that they raced earlier this year at Toledo Speedway, which ran in the top five for the entire day until a tire failure ended their run with five laps remaining.
Excited about the paint scheme and the fast racecar, Marks was looking forward to a good run at the Tim Richmond Memorial 200 on Saturday night.
"I guess I'm trying to do my part and sort of educate myself on the history of the sport and the sacrifices people made to create the opportunities that we have today. It was neat to give back a little bit and do something that I know Tim's fans get a kick out of, and it was great to meet Sandy (Tim Richmond's sister), because she is an amazing woman," Justin said.
A promising practice session for the Win-Tron team on Saturday afternoon kept their hopes high, as they were able to tune on their already fast race car, and stay consistent on old tires. After setting the seventh fastest time during the lone practice session of the day, Marks backed it up with a 16.782 second lap in qualifying, good enough for the seventh starting spot for the night's main event.
Though he lost a few spots immediately following the drop of the green flag, Marks began to slowly pick his way back up through the pack and knew he had a great racecar. He radioed the crew during the night's first caution period on lap 24 while sitting just outside the top five, reporting the car was handling well, but he was taking his time as it was very hard to pass on the tricky half-mile oval.
Just 12 laps later, the first heartbreak for the No. 32 would come in the form of a flat right front tire and fender damage after contact with the No. 25 of Mikey Kile. The crew quickly went to work after Justin brought the car down pit road under the caution, and sent him back on his way after losing a lap while they changed the right side tires and assessed the damage. Though the car looked a little bruised, it was still just as fast as before and Justin went to work to be the first car one lap down and receive the lucky dog award to get back on the lead lap.
For the next 100 laps, Justin continued to maneuver his Dodge Charger through traffic to stay with the front pack, running lap times as fast as the leaders, if not faster, and remained just outside the top 10 in the 11th position. The second round of heartbreak came on lap 136 when yet another right front tire went down, forcing Justin to pit under green and ultimately resulting in a loss of three more precious laps on the racetrack. Though he was now four laps behind the pace, Justin was still riding in 13th place, looking to finish the race in a solid position to retain the points lead, as he held a 70-point advantage IMG_1727.JPG over second place prior to the start of the race.
"We were rebounding really well from our first issue, trying to position ourselves to be the first car one lap down to get the lucky dog," Driver Justin Marks stated after the race. "I don't know what happened the second time we lost a tire, but that really messed up our night because we had to pit under green, and it was just plain unlucky. From then on I just tried to stay out of trouble and race as hard as I could to get every position we were capable of getting so we could get back up into the top 10."
Trouble would find Marks one more time with 20 laps remaining, as he narrowly avoided an accident in turn two, and was able to continue on with no further damage. By steering his way through trouble all night and keeping his fast racecar in a good position, Justin was able to collect a 10th place finish.
"It was a shame because we had a really, really good racecar; a car I think was capable of winning the race so it was unfortunate. We just had some problems with some other competitors that we shouldn't have had. I try to race clean, I pride myself in being a clean driver and tonight we just didn't have a very clean race." Marks expressed.
Co-Owner Nate Thiesse summed up the night and spoke about his driver following the event.
"I learned a long time ago in racing that you can have the fastest car all day and not win. Justin did a great job and drove really hard the whole night; we just didn't have luck on our side."
The tenth place finish marks Justin's eighth top-10 finish of the season, and he now holds a 50-point lead over second place driver Craig Goess. After a break this upcoming weekend, the ARCA Racing Series will travel to Pocono Raceway for the second time this season on Saturday, July 31st.