NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Justin Marks will take the wheel of the No. 98 GoPro Chevy Silverado this weekend 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. 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."
Marks traveled to Sandusky early this week to check out his new ride and interact with the entire No. 98 team prior to traveling to Georgia, the state that is home to one of his favorite race tracks, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and his wife Erin.
"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."
Special Appearance: Marks and Dakoda Armstrong will team up and make appearances at the Team Chevy stage on Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm EST, followed by a visit to the Coca-Cola Fan Stage at 4:00 pm. The two will be entertaining fans with Q&A sessions about ThorSport Racing, the No. 98 team, and racing at Atlanta and beyond.
Chassis History: Crew chief Dan Stillman and the No. 98 GoPro team have prepared chassis No. 23 for battle at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Justin Marks will attempt to visit victory lane with this specific chassis, as it is one of the most successful trucks out of the ThorSport Racing stable with two victories last season under Johnny Sauter's guidance.
Justin Marks on Atlanta Motor Speedway
What do you think your biggest challenge will be at Atlanta- "I don't think the track is that challenging necessarily; it's unique. I really like that there's a lot of room to race so no matter how your truck is working, you can almost always find a place to make it run decent. The biggest thing for me this weekend will be trying to learn the truck and the guys as quickly as possible and get our communication together. I've never worked with Dan Stillman, and we basically have one day to get it done."
What is your main goal heading into Atlanta- "We need to make the most out of every practice session and the time on track so we're as prepared as we can possibly be on Friday night. I feel like every time I go to the 1.5 mile tracks I'm a top-10 contender when the equipment is there. It's going to be kind of nice to not worry about points and just run as hard as we can, get what we can get. The goal for the race team is to take another step forward and I'm going there to try and win the pole and the race."
Why did you choose ThorSport Racing for your team at Atlanta- "David Pepper and I go way back to 2007 when he spotted for me in ARCA and we built a relationship. We've always talked every year about doing something together and the opportunity presented itself this time. GoPro made a commitment to try and run an entire truck series season, but the decision was made halfway to try to concentrate on just a couple of events and make the most out of those races that we do end up running. This is one of those races, and we're looking forward to a great weekend."