Justin Hits His Marks In Florida

COMEBACK TRAIL: Justin Marks (32) begins to work his way back through the ARCA Racing Series field after an early miscue sent him off course at Palm Beach Int'l Raceway in Jupiter, Fla. He recovered to win the race. (ARCA Photo)

COMEBACK TRAIL: Justin Marks (32) begins to work his way back through the ARCA Racing Series field after an early miscue sent him off course at Palm Beach Int’l Raceway in Jupiter, Fla. He recovered to win the race. (ARCA Photo)

JUPITER, Fla. — Despite a miscue on the original start, Justin Marks recovered nicely to easily win the rain-shortened Tire Kingdom 150 ARCA Racing Series event Saturday afternoon at Palm Beach Int’l Raceway.

Polesitter Casey Roderick and Marks brought the 34-car field to the green flag on the 2.25-mile road course and Marks locked up the brakes entering the chicane on the front chute and six cars slid off course together, nose to tail, with all able to continue with minimal damage.

With the shuffling of the field Mikey Kile set the early pace over Steve Arpin and Joey Coulter, but threatening skies delivered the anticipated light rain by lap three. A full-course yellow flag waved on lap eight and most of the field ducked onto pit road on lap 10 for new Hoosier rain tires — the first time the ARCA tour ever raced on the deeply grooved soft rubber.

When the green flag waved again it was still Kile in front, but young rookie Roderick had Bill Elliott’s Dodge on the move to take the point on lap 15. By lap 25 Rob Brent had moved by Kile for second with Frank Kimmel, Coulter, Marks, rookie Blake Koch and Tom Hessert in tow.

Despite the continued wet conditions Brent kept the pressure on Roderick and moved to the front on lap 30. The second full-course yellow flag waved on lap 34 for a couple of cars that had run off course with most of the field heading for pit road for gas and fresh rain rubber. Roderick was out front once again and at the lap-40 mark the order Roderick, Marks, Koch and Brent.

Marks had the hammer down and rocketed past Roderick on lap 43 and quickly had a five-car-length advantage, but just five laps later Roderick was finished with transmission failure. On lap 55, Marks and Koch hit pit road for fuel only with Brent staying out.

Once back on track Marks was a man on a mission as he ran down Brent and pulled away to an 18-second lead with 10 laps remaining as the rain went from a drizzle to steady downpour and the field was forced to slow due to standing water on the track surface.

At lap 70, ARCA officials declared the race complete, five laps short of the advertised distance with Marks the victor in front of Brent, local driver Koch, Hessert and Arpin.

“It was a great race — a great win for me…for Win-Tron, for Construct Corp.,” Marks said. “It was the perfect rain conditions to run a rain race. The track was just wet enough to slide around, get on rain tires and find that line, but it never rained too hard, except for the last three laps when it just poured, and we could barely see.”

The finish:
Showing driver, car and laps completed: 1. Justin Marks, Dodge, 70; 2. Robb Brent, Dodge, 70; 3. Blake Koch, Toyota, 70; 4. Tom Hessert, Dodge, 70; 5. Steve Arpin, Chevrolet, 70; 6. Joey Coulter, Chevrolet, 70; 7. Mikey Kile, Toyota, 70; 8. Tim George, Jr., Chevrolet, 69; 9. Tim Cowen, Ford, 69; 10. Patrick Sheltra, Chevrolet, 69; 11. Hal Martin, Dodge, 69; 12. Frank Kimmel, Ford, 69; 13. Craig Goess, Toyota, 69; 14. Dakoda Armstrong, Dodge, 69; 15. Nick Igdalsky, Ford, 69; 16. Bryan Silas, Ford, 68; 17. Alli Owens, Chevrolet, 67; 18. Spencer Maggard, Ford, 67; 19. Chase Mattioli, Ford, 67; 20. Josh Williams, Ford, 62; 21. Casey Roderick, Dodge, 44; 22. Jeff Buice, Chevrolet, 43; 23. Ed Bull, Ford, 39; 24. Tom Berte, Chevrolet, 39; 25. Darrell Basham, Chevrolet, 23; 26. Andy Belmont, Ford, 23; 27. Brad Smith, Ford, 13; 28. Wayne Peterson, Ford, 6; 29. James Hylton, Ford, 2; 30. Will Kimmel, Ford, 1; 31. Ron Cox, Chevrolet, 1; 32. Marc Easton, Dodge, 1; 33. Rob Jones, Ford, 0.

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