Lady Luck on Win-Tron's Side at Michigan Brooklyn, MI (June 14, 2010)- What started as disappointment after qualifying on Thursday afternoon turned out to be a blessing in disguise and the beginning of a luck-filled weekend for Justin Marks and...
Lady Luck on Win-Tron's Side at Michigan
Brooklyn, MI (June 14, 2010)- What started as disappointment after qualifying on Thursday afternoon turned out to be a blessing in disguise and the beginning of a luck-filled weekend for Justin Marks and the No. 32 Win-Tron Racing team at Michigan International Speedway. During his qualifying run, Justin felt a vibration followed by a transmission failure. Though he was able to complete his lap and set the 12th fastest time of the qualifying session, the team would have to swap out the transmission for a new piece, relegating Marks to the rear of the field for the start of the Racing for Wildlife 200. IMG_0474 (2).jpg
"If you think about it, we're actually pretty lucky we had this transmission failure," Crew Chief Mike Chaffee commented after the change. "If we hadn't found the issue when we did, we would've never made it off pit road to start the race on Friday."
Strategy was laid out from the drop of the green flag by Marks as he planned to move up as fast as possible through the field and stay in touch with the lead pack. After just three laps, he had already maneuvered his Construct Corps Toyota into the top 20 and continued to pick off spots until the first caution flag of the day slowed the field on lap 27. Though he seemed to be moving up nicely, Marks complained of an extremely loose racecar and the crew quickly went to work on the first pit stop.
After four tires and a chassis adjustment, Marks' crew was able to help him gain five spots on pit road, moving him to the eighth position on the restart. The team was hoping their No. 32 machine would handle more to the driver's liking, but much to their disappointment Marks reported just a few laps later that the conditions hadn't changed and believed he had an issue with the left front shock. Unwilling to give up the valuable track position, Marks and Chaffee opted to hang on until the next round of pit stops.
That moment would come on lap 78 when the field would pit under the second and final caution of the day. With a new left front shock up on the wall ready for installation, the crew quickly went to work on the Construct Corps Camry. After changing right side tires, the crew moved to the left side to finish the stop and shock repair, only to find the shock mount had completely broken and there would be no remedy for the problem.
"At that point, I got upset. But you just have to be able to recognize those moments where you've got what you've got and you have to make the most out of it," Marks explained.
"From then on it's basically just an exercise in trying to understand what's wrong with the car and finding the best way to drive around it. So that's all I did with the last 20 laps was try to run the best line for the car and stay focused."
Though he would be forced to struggle with an ill-handling race car for the remainder of the event, Marks restarted in the fourth position when several of the lead lap cars were caught one lap down after pitting just shy of the caution period. Marks didn't have anything for the leaders, but he was able to maintain his position and crossed the stripe in fourth.
"We got real lucky-plain and simple. We had no left front shock and I fought with that all day which made the car really, really tough to drive," Justin noted following the event.
"We really caught a break there with the green flag pit stops and the caution coming out the way it did. I'm not going to pretend that this didn't have anything to do with luck because that's pretty much one of the only things that attributed to this finish."
The fourth place finish at Michigan marks the fourth top-five finish for Justin this season, and helped him keep his second place spot in the point standings, just 35 points behind leader Patrick Sheltra. Making the most of the tough days is what the team hopes will keep them in the championship hunt.
"I'm proud of the finish and that we can persevere through these tough deals. It just makes us realize we'll really be able to capitalize when our fortunes turn around," Marks added.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards will have a pause in action until the teams and drivers head to Iowa Speedway for The Prairie Meadows 200 on Saturday, July 10th.