Larson, Marks Form Sprint Car Team
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin on November 9, 2013 | 7:30 A.M. EST
Stewart: "I'm very happy to be associated with Larson Marks Racing. It's a new team and it's got the right people behind it." (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
CONCORD, N.C. - Shane Stewart is looking forward to his next opportunity in 410 sprint car racing when he joins a new team formed by Kyle Larson and Justin Marks.
Stewart, who has over 100 feature wins over the course of his 20-year career, has been racing for a number of car owners over the past two seasons but will now settle in at Larson Marks Racing in 2014.
"I'm happy to be associated with Larson Marks Racing. It's a new team and it's got the right people behind it," said Stewart, driving the No. 77 Hill Racing entry this weekend in the World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. "It's been a long time coming that I can finally say I'm with a solid team and we're going to have some solid backing."
Larson, a four-time World of Outlaws winner, will have to cut his sprint car racing back next season as he will be making the move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time, driving the No. 42 for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Larson's ownership will now keep him involved in the sport. Larson Marks Racing will be the third World of Outlaws team owned by a current Sprint Cup Series driver following Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne.
"For a guy that's done it for a living and to see what Kyle (Larson) has been able to do in such a short period of time in his career ... to keep a person like me in mind - there are a lot of young guys out there that need a shot, but this is a huge shot in the arm for me," said Shane Stewart.
Marks, a former winner in the ARCA Racing Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, has raced in all three of NASCAR's top divisions - with his first Sprint Cup start coming this past June at Sonoma Raceway. He currently owns the state-of-the-art GoPro Motorplex karting facility in Mooresville, N.C., a place where Larson races in his free time.
"When you roll into (that) place and see how he's done that, you already know his sprint car team - and the stuff he's going to be associated with - is first-class," Stewart said of the Motorplex. "I didn't know Justin until just a couple days ago. I've talked to him several times on the phone. He's a wonderful guy, wonderful family man, which means a lot to me. You always have to surround yourself with good people and I feel like I have done that here."
There are no plans, as of now, for the new sprint car race shop to be located on the GoPro Motorplex grounds.
"Right now, he's looking to buy some buildings around Mooresville," Stewart said. "That's still in the works. I went with him and looked at a place the other day. I could see that in the near future, he's definitely got enough property out there to build a nice shop."
The car number and sponsor are scheduled to be announced at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis next month. Steve Suchy is going to be the crew chief and team manager, and will be moving to the Charlotte area. The plan is to compete in 40-50 races next season and then full-time with the Outlaws in 2015.
"They have some stuff already ordered," Stewart said. "The truck and trailers, and some engines have been ordered. I'm assuming if everything goes as planned, (they are) probably going to have more than one car and kind of pattern it after the Kasey Kahne Racing (also based out of Mooresville) outfit.
"We're going to use 2014 as a growing year. We're going to try some different chassis, I think, and some different combinations and hopefully, when 2015 rolls around, we can try and run for a World of Outlaws championship."