A new team will attempt to enter the NASCAR Cup Series for eight races of the 2022 season. Team Stange Racing will partner with Dignity Gold, LLC to field the No. 79 Ford Mustang.
Team Stange Racing announced the news on March 8 and revealed that Tarso Marques will be the team’s driver for the part-time schedule. The former Formula One driver will kick off his season on July 3 with the race at Road America. He will continue with the July 31 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course and the August 21 race at Watkins Glen International.
Team Stange Racing’s schedule continues with the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on August 27, the October 9 race at the Charlotte Roval, the October 16 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the October 23 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The schedule will wrap up with the championship race at Phoenix Raceway on November 6.
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Team Stange Racing’s Driver Has Numerous F1 Starts
The driver for Team Stange Racing does not have a history in NASCAR, but he has numerous starts in multiple others. Chief among them is his tenure in Formula One, which started in 1996.
The Brazil native made 24 total starts for the Minardi F1 Team, split between 1996, 1997, and 2001. He posted three top-10s during his time in F1, but numerous mechanical issues disrupted several of his starts.
Along with his time in F1, Marques also competed in the CART/Champ Car series for multiple teams. He joined Team Penske for six starts in 1999 before joining Dale Coyne Racing for 21 starts in 2000, 2004, and 2005. Marques never secured a spot on the podium, but he posted a career-best finish of seventh at what is now Auto Club Speedway in 2000.
Team Stange Racing Will Have To Qualify for Every Race
As an open entry, Team Stange Racing will not have a guaranteed spot in the eight races on its schedule. Instead, Marques will have to post a lap time good enough to rank in the top 40 during single-car qualifying.
Based on the early 2022 schedule, he will likely have an opportunity to suit up for every race. Of the three races this season, only one has had more than 40 entries. 42 teams tried to enter the Daytona 500, but two of the open teams headed home early.
The race at Auto Club Speedway on February 27, for comparison, only had the 36 chartered entries, leaving four open spots unused. The Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Speedway on March 6 only had one open entry with Greg Biffle in the No. 44 Chevrolet and the first trip to Phoenix Raceway on March 13 will only have 36 entries.
If this trend continues, Team Stange Racing will potentially be the only open entry or one of a limited few. The Money Team Racing has plans to compete in roughly six races in 2022, but Circuit of the Americas is the only confirmed race so far. The Floyd Mayweather-owned team will provide more information in the coming weeks, as will NY Racing, the team behind Biffle’s No. 44.