Hard Day at "The Rock" for Hattori Racing Enterprises

Hard Day at "The Rock" for Hattori Racing Enterprises

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (May 4, 2008) - Sunday marked the return of racing to the famed one-mile Rockingham Speedway and Justin Marks and his ARCA RE/MAX Hattori Racing Enterprises team entered this weekend with high expectations only to find them spoiled. Marks started the 312-lap Carolina 500 in the seventh position and was never able to improve on that spot after a lap 11 melee that included the No. 01 AW North Carolina Camry.

"It was a long, tough day. The wreck happened before we could really get a read on the car," stated Marks of Rocklin, California. "The plan was to take it easy, but we got hit from behind and then I hit the car in front me which is what caused the damage. We practiced well and had high hopes, but luck just wasn‘t on our side today."

Marks knew that patience was going to be the key word of the day, but the lap 11 multi-car accident changed that word to survival. The No. 01 AW North Carolina Camry suffered front-end damage along with handling issues that proved to be a test to crew chief Mike Abner and the Hattori Racing Enterprises crew. Over the next 11 caution periods, Abner elected to bring his driver down pit road multiple times during each caution to make improvements and repairs to the ill-handling, damaged Camry. After making the numerous repairs and falling back as far as the 36th position, Anber and crew began to see the reward by progressing back into the top-15 and running competitive lap times.

On lap 209 the progress ended when Marks reported back to the team that the AW North Carolina Camry was overheating. After many attempts to remedy the overheating issue, lap 269 was the last lap that Justin Marks would make around Rockingham Speedway. A hole in the radiator was the culprit and a 31st place finish was the result.

"Everybody on the Hattori Racing Enterprises team did a really good job today. We were tore up, the toe was knocked out and things were just going bad. We made a ton of pit stops and we just kept working at it. We finally got the car back to a point where we were in the top-10 in lap times, but at the end with the heat and the front-end damage we overheated and that ended our day. I was really happy to have this opportunity to drive the No. 01 AW North Carolina Camry this weekend. It's just a shame that it ended like this," concluded Marks.

For first-time stock car owner Shigeaki "Shige" Hattori the Carolina 500 marked the beginning of a new vantage point; being an owner instead of a driver. "I would first of all like to thank my sponsors: AW North Carolina, AISIN, ADVICS, IOI, Toyopet and Toyota. They have really supported my program and have given me the opportunity to work with young talented drivers." Regarding today's race, the driver/car-owner from Okayama, Japan added, "I am really proud of Justin, Mike Abner and the entire crew. They did an excellent job and I am so proud of their efforts considering the unfortunate events that occurred today. I am excited to have these guys working for me."

Hattori Racing Enterprises will return to the ARCA RE/MAX Series in the No. 01 ADVICS Camry next Saturday, May 10th, for the Drive Smart! Buckle Up Kentucky 150 at Kentucky Speedway with driver Sean Caisse. Hattori Racing Enterprises is operating in conjunction with Germain Racing, which brings championship winning experience and a long-standing relationship with Toyota Racing Development to the Hattori Racing Enterprises effort. For information on how you can become a sponsor of HRE, contact driver@vertex-sp.com.

Justin Marks will next be on track with Germain Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Friday, May 16th at Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Marks is a full-time competitor in the Craftsman Truck Series and is currently 2nd in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. For more information on Justin Marks and his No. 9 Crocs/Construct Corps Tundra, visit http://www.germainracing.com/.

To learn more about AISIN, including AW North Carolina and ADVICS, please visit http://www.aisin.com/.

Contact: Hattori Racing Enterprises

Phone: (704) 743-7708