Ragan Revs Up For ARCA/NASCAR KY Double Duty
Ragan Revs Up For ARCA/NASCAR KY Double Duty
(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - January 19, 2011) - Tony Marks Racing (TMR), the newest multi-car operation in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards wasn’t shy about holding back in the recent three-day test session at the newly re-paved Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. In fact, the Ohio-based ARCA team quickly raised the eyebrows of their fellow competitors after TMR immediately showed strength and stabilization in their first tango with the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Armed with the legendary Larry Moore as crew chief, TMR brought three drivers to the “World Center of Racing” as an opportunity to prepare the newest female sensation Maryeve Dufault to become acquainted with the breathtaking racetrack while also utilizing the experience of NASCAR driver Chase Austin to critique the team’s performance.
For 16-year old rising star Jared Marks, the dream of competing at Daytona inched one step closer as the Champion Racing Association (CRA) competitor also climbed into the cockpit for several laps around DIS to give him a taste of what is yet to come.
Even though three drivers were on-hand with for the first official open-test of the new season, much concentration was surrounded on the team’s full-time pilot of Maryeve Dufault, who will make her first ARCA Racing Series start next month.
After spending 2010 competing in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, Dufault, a native of Los Angeles will leap into the most diverse racing series in the United States hoping to gain experience, respect and support as she vows to become the first female driver to win an ARCA Racing Series event in the history of the 58-year old sanctioning body.
To say that the Tony Marks Racing team wasn’t busy during the three days is a huge understatement. From single-car runs to drafting and everything else in between, Dufault, Marks and Austin all delivered solid results which sensors off good vibes for the freshman team heading into the season-opener in less than a month.
Overall, Dufault led the TMR charge by placing her No. 12b Tony Marks Racing Dodge Charger into 28th out of 58 competitors after posting her fastest lap at 49.203 seconds at 182.916 miles per hour. Dufault edged out several familiar ARCA competitors including nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and the 2010 ARCA Racing Series champion Patrick Sheltra. She was also the second fastest of the six other females on-track during the open-test only trailing Milka Duno.
Marks and Austin, both in single-car rounds posted times that were 41st and 42nd respectively overall. The team leaned on comfort not speed for Jared Marks, son of car owner Tony Marks hopped in the seat of the No. 12a Charger and wheeled his automobile around the track in 49.830 seconds or a tick over 180.550 miles per hour. It was a solid lap time for the teenage racer, who under ARCA Racing Series sanctioning age restrictions is allowed to test but not race at the historic facility.
“Overall, we’re completely satisfied with the way the test came out,” said Tony Marks, owner of Tony Marks Racing. “Chase, Jared and Maryeve all did an exceptional job shaking the car down and producing great feedback. I appreciate Chase being here with the team as a driver coach to the future of our great program. Maryeve did exactly what she needed to do and we believe she gained a lot of respect from her competitors.”
He went onto say, “Jared will run some ARCA races later this year and we wanted to make sure he was comfortable in the car not to mention gather priceless seat time. We’ll be back next month and hope we can continue to gain the trust and respect of our competitors while also deliver solid results for our team partners.”
Dufault expressed her overview of the test by stating, “I’m really happy with the progression we had at the test. I felt really comfortable in the car and I achieved what I wanted to do,” she said. “I cannot say enough about the Tony Marks Racing team. They did an amazing job. They’ve worked really hard despite having very little time to put the car together. We showed we had a very competitive piece. I really have a positive feeling for us for the race.”
Tony Marks Racing plans to sport two cars in the 2011 season-opener with Dufault and possibly Austin as a teammate. The schedule will turn later in the year and allow Marks behind the second-car for up to 11 races, including much of the series’ short track contests.
Before tackling the breathtaking Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway this week, the freshman organization spent Monday testing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway allowing the team to shake down their short-track program with all three TMR protégés being allowed priceless seat time behind the wheel. Dufault will make her ARCA Racing Series short track debut at Salem (Ind.) Speedway on May 1, 2011.
Nestled back at their shop in Napoleon, Ohio, the TMR team is preparing for the first of 19 ARCA Racing Series events on the 2011 schedule which launches with the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona on Saturday, February 12, 2011 live on SPEED.