Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks on the mark once again

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Justin Marks appears to be a smarter man with each passing weekend.

Against heavy odds, Trackhouse Racing, Marks’ relatively new NASCAR Cup Series team, has three victories 16 races into the season. To put that in perspective, Trackhouse has the same numbers of wins this year as long-time NASCAR operations Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing. Only Hendrick Motorsports, with five, has more.

Marks’ latest breakthrough occurred Sunday at Sonoma Raceway as Mexican driver Daniel Suarez easily outran the rest of the field in scoring his first career win, a very popular victory across the garage and in the grandstands. Trackhouse now has Suarez and Ross Chastain on course for the playoffs, a circumstance that few would have predicted in the preseason.

Marks said he isn’t surprised that his teams have reached victory lane but he does admit to being a bit stunned by the speed of the accomplishment.

“I tell people I’m not surprised that we’re a winning race team because I wouldn’t have started this project if I didn’t think, truly believe, that the opportunity existed to build a new race team in this sport that could win,” Marks said. “It’s just happened really quickly. That’s been the surprise.

“We’ve got such great people that work so hard. The promise of this car is being delivered every single weekend.”

Part of Trackhouse’s grand plan is to work with underserved communities both inside and outside the sport. Suarez’s win continues to build platform. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Suarez became only the fifth foreign-born driver to win a Cup race.

“To me this is sort of a representation of what America stands for,” Marks said. “It’s a place you can come with big dreams and you can work hard to achieve those dreams. I always say Daniel is one of one. A Mexican race car driver moving to America, can’t speak the language, to be a NASCAR Cup Series winner, that shows the amazing place we live.”

Although Suarez won an Xfinity Series championship in 2016, he struggled to gain traction in Cup at Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing. He had some good runs at both shops but couldn’t close the door on a win.

Marks said he had no doubt that Suarez could succeed at stock car racing’s highest level.

“I have almost never met a more determined, focused, hard-working race car driver in my 20 years in this sport,” Marks said. “Every single morning he wakes up and says, ‘I am going to be the best version of myself I can be today. I’m going to do all the work I can possibly do today to win this race this weekend.”

Ty Norris, Trackhouse Racing’s president, said Marks sets big goals and is on the way to meeting them.

“If Justin walked in and said, ‘Hey, I’m taking five NASCAR drivers to Mars through SpaceX,’ he probably would do it,” Norris told Autoweek. “As opposed to two years ago, when he said I’m going to start a race team and we’re going to win races in our first years. Everybody would say, ‘OK, Justin, let me show you where the padded room is. He’s earned the credibility now. He’s more right than wrong.”