On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!
Seaford, VA – So besides my corny little title that I thought seemed oh so perfect for this weeks guest has he launched out of the gates and onto the track in an entirely new division this year. This week we have had the honor to getting to know one of the Grandstock drivers at Langley Speedway, the driver of the #88, Thomas Marks. I really hope you enjoyed the first part of our interview as we try a few new things here in the office with this series. I want to thank Thomas for taking some time and being patient as we learn the ropes of how all this works. I would also like to thank him for making my job so much easier, he answered some questions so great I couldn’t ask any follow-up questions because he covered it all! Again thanks again!
There are a lot of different ways people can get into the sport of racing, most either start racing karts when they are young and move up through the ranks, while some are pretty much given what they want and start in any division. Thomas brings a little something new to the table for us here at The Weekly Racer which I love, Thomas Marks went right from a crew member to driver! Marks started working on cars at his step fathers shop which sparked his interest in helping him with a Grandstock out at Langley Speedway!
Unlike a lot of drivers we have talked to in the past Marks didn’t move up through the ranks of karting, and before anyone leaves any bad comments no one is saying that is a bad thing! There are thousands of different roads in this country and that is the one Thomas found himself riding on! Believe it or not 2013 “marked” Thomas’ first year behind the wheel – okay okay I promise I will stop with the puns! I asked Thomas what the best part of 2013 was and his answer was pretty simple, “We had 6 top 5’s 2 2nd place finishes and 1 win,” Marks explained. “We came home sixth in the points and Rookie of the Year honors.” Now, its been a while since we have had a UCAR driver as a guest so let me remind you, these are domestic, front wheel drive cars that have been turned into a race car.
They run for a track championship with a little bit of money at the end of the year, other than that its bragging rights pretty much – granted now all of that has changed and everyone who runs are eligible for a national championship. I will say one thing about this division though, it is filled with a bunch of drama! Which is a double edge sword; 1) it will almost always create an interesting night on the track for fans, 2) sometimes it just really gets old you know, you are out there running at 70+ mph in a car that wasn’t built to do that, of course you’re gonna make some contact! I had to ask Thomas his thoughts on the drama, ”I didn’t really get involved in too much drama,” Marks was pretty quick to say. ”Other [than] when we were winning, people did not like getting beat by a ten-year old car.” Just goes to show it’s not all about the pretty fenders and cool paint job, a lot of it comes from the wheelman and their crew.
“I definitely think drying wife the Grandstocks are a whole lot harder to drive,” Marks explained on the transition this year. “I had a lot of fun in the UCAR though, it was definitely something that I was not used to, but I am happy to move up into Grandstocks.” Marks decided to make the move over the off-season in the Grandstocks because of the love he had for the series growing up, not to mention wanting to start driving rear wheel powered machines. Marks purchased Bobby Spivey’s old car and the team went to work!
One major change that had to be made, the number selection. “I ran the #8 in UCARS so when I moved up to grandstock The 8 was not available in respect to the reigning 5 time champion Ricky Derrick,” Said Marks. “So The 88 was the next best thing, [plus] I am a huge Dale Jr fan so it worked out pretty good.” Thomas and his crew have been working incredibly hard so far this season getting the car where he wants it. 2014 has not been one of the best years for Marks and his team but one thing they will never do is give up! “Definitely want to try to compete for some wins, I would love to get at least one win this year and Rookie of the Year honors, that would be awesome.”
Make sure you come check out Thomas on June 21st (one week from today) as the Grandstocks return from their three-week break for 40 laps of high-speed action. Also running that night are the K&N Pro Series East for 175 laps. Going to be a great night! Also if you have not checked out our interview with Thomas please click the link –> #88 Thomas Marks. You will find links to his Facebook, add him as a friend and show your support! Also any questions you may have for Thomas you can leave them in the comment section bellow or on his interview and we will work on getting those answered. Would also like to thank Erin Goodman Photography for providing some pretty sweet graphics to go along with the Series, she can take care of all of your professional photo needs at the track and at your home, details on how to contact her on side bar as well as in the sponsors page!