NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Justin Marks will take the wheel of the No. 98 ThorSport Racing machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway for a one race deal that will not only give Marks a shot at the win, but will also give the newest team under the ThorSport umbrella and crew lead by crew chief Dan Stillman another valuable chance to compete before going full-time in 2012. The team's primary driver, Dakoda Armstrong, has chosen seven select races this season to compete in, the maximum number allowed without spoiling his chances to run for Rookie of the Year next season. The Atlanta 200 was not one of those events on Armstrong's schedule, but the he will be at the 1.5-mile oval to gain as much experience from Marks and offer up support to his crew.
"This opportunity will give my team an extra race and experience they need since I can only drive our scheduled seven races this season and stay committed to being a rookie for next year," Armstrong said. "We're fortunate to have Justin on board for Atlanta so the whole 98 team can run another race and hopefully gain extra points to get us closer to locked in at Daytona."
Armstrong will also attend the remainder of the races on the NCWTS schedule to take notes, talk with his teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton, and take an in-depth look at everything his team does beyond the cockpit.
"I plan on going with the rest of my ThorSport team to the final nine races of the year, and regardless of if I'm behind the wheel or not, I want to learn as much as I can from everyone at the track," Armstrong added.
Team Manager David Pepper confirmed the plan to give the third team in the ThorSport Racing stable a chance to compete at another track before their first full-season campaign.
"When this opportunity came along to put a quality driver like Justin Marks in one of our trucks, it was a natural fit to see what we can do in a one-off deal," Pepper explained. "This race is all about getting more points, getting more experience for our team, and keeping our full time driver's rookie status in place. The entire 98 team is looking ahead to the full season and rookie campaign with their driver, Dakoda Armstrong, and running this Atlanta race with Justin Marks is just another start that will help gain owner points for 2012."
Pepper and Marks have prior history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and found this opportunity as a chance to help the ThorSport Racing team gain experience and provide Marks with the tools to compete for the win. The California-native will bring GoPro with him as a sponsor on the No. 98 for the Atlanta event.
"David Pepper and I have had history since 2007 when he spotted for me in ARCA," Marks commented. "We'd always talked every year about doing something together and the opportunity presented itself this time. GoPro made a decision at the halfway point of the season to concentrate on just a couple of races to round out the year and make the most of them, with one of those events being this opportunity with the No. 98 ThorSport Racing team."
"I'm confident at the 1.5-mile tracks like Atlanta, so I'm focused on running as hard as we can. The goal for the race team is to take another step forward with the 98 guys and help them as much as possible to prepare for Dakoda's rookie of the year campaign next season."