Justin Marks said from day one that he wanted to be a disruptor in NASCAR. He wanted to think outside the box and do things differently. In two years, he’s done just that. And others are taking notice.
The former driver found out how much recently when he met Jerry Jones and experienced a jaw-dropping moment when the Dallas Cowboys owner shocked him with his knowledge about NASCAR, but more specifically, Trackhouse Racing, and the unprecedented move late in the season at Martinsville.
Justin Marks watches Trackhouse Racing record its first wins and establish itself as contender
Like any first-year Cup Series organization, Justin Marks didn’t have high expectations of Trackhouse in 2021. Daniel Suarez recorded four top-10s and finished 25th in the season standings. During that first offseason, Marks took his shot when he purchased the NASCAR operations of Chip Ganassi Racing and retained driver Ross Chastain.
The watermelon farmer rewarded him early in the 2022 season at Circuit of the Americas when he used his aggressive driving style on a thrilling final-lap move, outlasting AJ Allmendinger and Alex Bowman for the company’s first trophy. And they were just getting started.
Chastain smashed a second watermelon four weeks later, and Suarez got in on the fun, winning his first-ever Cup race at Sonoma early in the summer. Both drivers from the small team impressively made the postseason.
In those playoffs, the Trackhouse brand made its biggest splash since its creation on the final lap of the elimination race at Martinsville when Chastain pulled off a viral video game move that shocked his competitors and everyone watching.
Jerry Jones meets Marks in jaw-dropping moment
Justin Marks made news this week when it was announced that he is joining Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, and Kevin Harvick as co-owners of the CARS Tour. However, just a couple of weeks ago, the 41-year-old joined another well-known owner, Dallas Cowboys main man Jerry Jones, when the Pokes visited the Tennessee Titans for a Thursday Night Football matchup.
Marks attended the game with entertainer Kid Rock and was invited to visit the Cowboys’ locker room. According to Trackhouse executive Ty Norris, it was a moment his boss will never forget.
“Justin called me Friday morning after the Thursday Night Football game in Nashville last week when the Dallas Cowboys came to town,” Norris said in an appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “Justin went to the Titans game with Kid Rock and a couple of other people, and Bob Rich asked Justin to go down to the locker room and meet some of the Dallas Cowboys people, including Jerry Jones and his group.
“Bob introduced Justin to Jerry Jones, and Jerry goes, ‘You own Trackhouse? You own the team that Ross Chastain drives for? We saw that move.’ Like 10 of them started all talking about how cool that move was. So they saw it. Justin’s jaw was dropped, and he was like, ‘Wow!’ Until you have those moments, you forget how many people actually did pay attention to that.”
Making his mark on the future
Marks is undoubtedly making his mark in NASCAR with Trackhouse Racing beyond your typical cheering on the team and signing the checks. He brought in F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen last season to drive a one-off race as part of Project 91, which is designed to bring in international stars and draw attention to and help grow the sport.
Unsurprisingly, he’s not stopping there. He has talked extensively in the past about the marketing side of the sport and expanding the brand into other entertainment fields.
In December, Marks announced the formation of Trackhouse360, a new division of Trackhouse Entertainment Group, which will develop “creative and compelling original content, non-traditional merchandise and apparel” and have involvement in event promotion.
Marks was understandably awed by the moment in Nashville when he met Jones, who is viewed by many as a visionary in the NFL for his leading efforts in areas like marketing. But the more he builds on his portfolio with Trackhouse, the more he appears to have that same innovative attitude as Jones.
Now it’s just a matter of seeing if he can take his NASCAR team brand to new heights like Jones did with America’s Team. America’s Car anyone?