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Jun 22, 2014 - 06:56 PM
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2014 Road America: Justin Marks NASCAR Nationwide Race Recap
Posted by: newsla on Jun 22, 2014 - 06:52 PM
NASCAR News
2014 Road America: Justin Marks NASCAR Nationwide Race Recap


In his first of two scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) road course races this season with Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM), Justin Marks proved he was a force to be reckoned with through the 4.048-mile twists and turns of Road America, but a late-race fuel gamble left Marks and his No. 31 SOL REPUBLIC Chevy with a 24th-place finish after spending the majority of the race within the top five. From the get-go, it was evident that the weather was going to be a major factor at the 640-acre track, causing the weekend's two practice sessions to be combined into one single session.

 

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Despite not having raced at Road America in eight years, Marks quickly reacquainted himself with the 14-turn course and was able to rank seventh fastest in practice, followed by eighth fastest in qualifying. Shortly after the green flag waved on a foggy Wisconsin afternoon, the first caution arose on lap 13 and Marks came down pit road for four new tires and fuel. After restarting in 14th position, Marks gained momentum and passed four competitors in a single lap. The No. 31 SOL REPUBLIC car was running its fastest lap times from the sixth position when NASCAR officials were forced to wave the yellow flag on lap 26 due to rain over the area. Anxiously waiting to see whether the field would remain on slick tires or switch to rain tires, the track remained under caution for a total of three laps before NASCAR informed all NNS teams to prepare for rain-tire conditions.

Shortly after the restart, Marks charged his SOL REPUBLIC Chevy into the top five and was consistently the fastest car on the track, laying down lap times two seconds faster than the field. The caution flag waved once again on lap 39 and crew chief Pat Tryson planned to call Marks to pit road for a quick splash of fuel. His strategy, however, quickly changed when the leaders remained on the track. With most teams unsure of their fuel-mileage window on rain tires, Tryson elected to stay out, take a gamble and go for the win. With less than ten laps to go, Marks was running in the fourth position before contact with a competitor forced him to spin into the grass. Despite damage to the left-front fender, Marks regained control and was charging from the ninth position just before his day took an unfortunate turn for the worst: the No. 31 SOL REPUBLIC car ran out of gas with just three laps to go. After making it to pit road for four new rain tires and fuel, Marks rejoined the field from outside the top 25, one lap down. Although not the finish he and his TSM team had hoped for, the green/white/checkered finish allowed Marks to gain two track positions before crossing the finish line in 24th position.

Justin Marks on Racing at Road America:
"That was really unfortunate for my Turner Scott Motorsports team and I. We had a top-three car today and at one point, I thought we were going to win the thing if we had stayed green before the final caution. I wish it had been a better outcome for us, but at the end of the day, we had to do what was going to put us in contention to win; and that meant gambling with fuel strategy. I just can't thank my No. 31 team enough for their hard work and support this weekend. It's been a lot of fun. I only get a few shots every now and then to get behind the wheel and turn some laps, so despite it all, I'm really thankful for the opportunity to come out here and represent a great organization, along with my sponsors, SOL REPUBLIC and Casamigos. I can't wait to do it all again in Mid-Ohio."

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