In addition to racing, many NASCAR drivers have second athletic passions such as playing golf, skiing or maybe driving off-road.
But not Xfinity Series driver Justin Marks, who attempts to defend last year’s win (in the rain) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Challenge there.
Marks has a unique second passion: he likes to get away and climb mountains.
On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Marks spoke with our team about last year’s win, his unique relationship with William Byron – and how climbing Mount Everest is on his bucket list.
“My first heroes in racing were NASCAR drivers and I went to races in the Midwest, my father took me to the Daytona 500, I got everybody’s autograph” Marks said. “That day (winning at Mid-Ohio) was just such a special day for our team and played into my wheelhouse and my experience.
“It’s one thing to be fast, but things really have to go your way in a race and they did for us that day. It was just a great day.”
As for mountain climbing, he went to see a movie about Mount Everest in 1997 and “it changed my life,” Marks said. “Mountaineering is a passion or sport that people can do for a long time in their lives.”
Marks set aside mountain climbing until last year. He told himself after winning the Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio that he had completed one goal (winning a NASCAR race) and now it was time to resurrect his passion for mountain climbing, with Mount Everest being his ultimate goal.
“I had two passions as a kid, I’ve gotten one of them out of the way, and how cool would it be to start pursuing the other one,” Marks said. “I’ve put the wheels in motion to get to Mount Everest and hopefully we’ll get there in the next 24 to 36 months and stand on top of the world.”