One of the NASCAR Cup Series owners is about to take on a new challenge. Justin Marks, owner of Trackhouse Racing, will compete in the Camping World SRX Series during the race at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Trackhouse Racing and the SRX Series announced the news on June 25. They revealed that Marks, a driver with starts across several series, will replace Helio Castroneves for the July 2 race at Stafford Motor Speedway. The reason is that the four-time Indy 500 winner has a scheduling conflict for that date.
“This will be a blast. Time to knock the rust off and go wheel to wheel with my heroes. Let’s go!!” Marks tweeted after the announcement. He sparked a large number of responses from excited fans, many of whom said it was time for the Trackhouse Racing owner to get a win of his own.
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This Announcement Sparked Some Other Conversations
While there was a considerable amount of excitement surrounding the announcement, there was even more intrigue. There were several people that took the news as a sign that Marks may play a role in another part-time start.
The SRX Series season began on June 18 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. Castroneves captured the season-opening win after holding off Bubba Pollard and Ryan Newman. He held up his end of a bargain with SRX Series CEO Don Hawk that involves a future start in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Since this win, Hawk has been hard at work trying to get Castroneves a seat for the 2023 Daytona 500. He hasn’t revealed whether he has achieved any success, but Marks could present an option. The owner of Trackhouse Racing recently revealed that the Cup Series team will field a part-time entry in select races to provide international drivers with a seat.
Trackhouse Racing has only revealed the identity of the first guest driver. Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen will take over the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro for the trip to Watkins Glen International on August 21. Now many NASCAR fans are wondering if Castroneves will be the next to join the team.
Marks Can Pursue a Better Finish at a Short Track
The trip to Stafford Motor Speedway will present Marks with an opportunity to pursue a better finish. The next venue on the SRX Series schedule is a short track, a style of oval where Marks did not achieve as much success during his time in NASCAR.
Marks, who made 79 combined starts across the three national NASCAR series, performed the best on the various road courses. For example, he posted seven top-10 finishes, three top-fives, and a win in the Xfinity Series on this style of track. These performances make sense considering Marks’ time in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
For comparison, Marks only made six starts on short tracks in the Xfinity Series, and he posted a career-best finish of 13th at Richmond Raceway in 2016. Though Marks did post a third-place finish at Iowa Speedway during a 2006 race in what is now the ARCA Menards Series.
The SRX Series is considerably different than the Xfinity Series or any other NASCAR series, but Marks will go up against drivers with hundreds of short track starts on their resumes. He will battle with Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Michael Waltrip, and Greg Biffle.