ThorSport Racing welcomed Justin Marks to the No. 98 team for this weekend's events at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a solid GoPro Chevrolet Silverado. The team's goal of gaining as much experience as possible and going all out for the victory with Marks behind the wheel of the No. 98 for the first time remained on course until the final 30 laps of the Good Sam Club 200. A freak parts failure in the fuel system sent the team behind the wall for repairs and ended their climb towards the front of the field prematurely.
Marks came to the team for the Atlanta event to help the newest addition to the ThorSport Racing stable get more track time before next season's attempt at Rookie of the Year with driver Dakoda Armstrong. After practice and qualifying on Friday afternoon, crew chief Dan Stillman called for changes to remedy the handling troubles Marks described prior to the 200 mile battle later in the evening.
Evidence of the changes appeared within the first five laps as Marks came over the radio and informed his team the GoPro Chevy was really loose. Holding on until the first pit stop, he maintained his position within the top 20 and steered clear of some early trouble on the track. On lap 23 the GoPro crew supplied their driver with four tires and several adjustments to tighten him up all the way around the 1.5-mile circuit.
Marks was silent on the radio following the first round of adjustments until the next caution period on Lap 37 when he radioed to Stillman that the adjustments had his ThorSport Racing machine headed in the right direction, but still needed some final tweaking. Just 23 laps later, Stillman brought his driver back down pit road for a set of sticker tires and more adjustments. Marks went back to work on traffic and began picking his way through the field towards the top-10.
The final chance for adjustments came during the last scheduled pit stop of the night with 30 laps remaining as Marks peeled off the track to bring the No. 98 to the attention of his crew. A solid stop by the team would be followed by a report from their driver that he had completely lost fuel pressure as soon as he returned to competition. Marks brought the truck down pit road and the crew lifted the hood and quickly discovered the failure in the fuel system. Stillman directed his crew to pull the truck behind the wall to fix the broken part, taking just 14 laps to remedy the issue and get Marks back to racing. Unfortunately, he was not able to gain any positions and ended the night in 28th position.
"We didn't start the night off where we wanted to be, but the guys did a good job and we made gains all night," Stillman commented. "I wish we could've run the whole last run on the track because we had the truck really handling well after that final pit stop."
"We were really loose in the beginning of the race but we got better and better after every pit stop. We just had an unfortunate parts failure in the fuel system there and the guys did a great job getting it fixed and getting us back out there for the points," Marks said following the race.
"I'm really excited for this team and for Dakoda. I can tell there's a good pace in this truck and it just needs to be discovered with this group of guys and this package. It was going to be a good solid night for us but what's good is the 98 got some experience and stayed fresh for the next race for Dakoda Armstrong. "
Rookie driver Armstrong will retake the wheel of the No. 98 Chevy Silverado at Chicagoland Speedway in two weeks when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes competition.
ThorSport Racing PR