Mark Wertz Run’s On Dunkin’
With more years on the race track than I’ve had birthday’s, driver of the #55 Dunkin Donuts machine, Mark Wertz takes a few moments out of his busy schedule to sit down with us and chat about everything from the start of his racing career to his favorite TV show. Mark Wertz a Virginia Beach native is a prime example of the definition weekend warrior when it comes to racing. The man has a lot on his plate, a full-time production planner at Huntington Ingals, a full-time father, as well as being in a committed relationship.
Mark’s racing career began circa 1987 at Langley Speedway at the ripe ole’ age of 18 in the old school enduro class. Nothing like the enduro’s today either, these were almost like street stock cars running 200 laps! “My first car was a 1970 Chevy Nova,” as Mark describes his first racing experience. “The car I had some success in was a 1970 Ford Torino, from there I moved up through all the divisions Langley offered! Took Mark two years (1989) to find victory lane, but let’s be honest here, 200 laps in the enduro class, driving the little cousin to a WWII tank, not to mention only at the age of 20… you ask me that’s impressive!
Mark’s first win in a stock car was back in 1995 running at Dixieland Speedway ever since then he has owned his fair share of stock in victory lanes at many different tracks. By 1997 Wertz had found victory lane thirteen different times in Limited Stock racing at South Hampton Speedway. A Speedway that has but all been laid to rest on the busy road of route 58 here in Virginia. Those thirteen victories helped propel Wertz to a track championship, in addition Wertz also took home the Fall Classic title at Virginia Motor Speedway.
It wasn’t until 2003 when Mark began to run Late Model Stock Cars full-time, however he captured his first LMSC win in ’99 at Summerville Speedway down in South Carolina. “I beat Mac Best to the checkers and out lasted Buddy Griffin,” said Wertz speaking of his first win. “Also beat Robert and Charlie Powell along with Charlie Chinners.” Now you can call me a rookie when it comes to short track racing but I will plead the ‘I was only 10 years old card’ when I say these names do not sound familiar to me. I did make a promise to Mark that I would do my research on these guys, so don’t worry about that!
2003 was an All-Star year for Wertz if you ask me. Not only did he win the Langley Speedway track championship (13 wins, 17 T-5’s, 18 T-10’s), Wertz also won the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Regional Championship, runner-up that year was none other than Sprint Cup regular Denny Hamlin, second runner-up was now current Camping Truck series points leader Timothy Peters! 2004 was no different for Wertz driving his silver #40 machine to yet another Langley Speedway track championship and back-to-back Dodge Weekly Racing Regional titles!
Mark will continue to drive the #55 machine primarily at Langley Speedway this coming year where he currently sits 4th in points after a pretty strong start to the 2014 season. One thing I am liking after getting towards the end of our interview, Mark is also looking to get back on the road and visit some more race tracks! “Well we are going tonEast Carolina next Friday (May 16th), then Langley on Saturday (May 17th)” Mark tells us. “Then to Kenly [Southern National Motorsports Park] the flowing Friday (May 23rd) to test then race Kenly the following day (May 24th).” Mark did tell me did tell me they will focus on a track championship at Langley and will take whatever follows.
With the Late Model’s having this weekend off at Langley Speedway Mark will pilot the Amy Wells Racing #15 Modified in twin 30 lap features. The following week Mark will pull double duty heading down to Robersonville, NC running the Dunkin Donut machine at East Carolina Motor Speedway May 16th, and will then turn around and run twin 75 features at Langley Speedway May 17th.
Make sure you head over to Facebook and give Mark’s racing page a LIKE (Mark Wertz Racing). If you are on twitter make sure you give us both a follow, @theweeklyracer & @markwertz55. Finally, follow the link to see the rest of our interview and get to know Mark on a behind the scenes level –> #55 Mark Wertz