Tony Marks Racing let it known right away at the first test for the 2011 season that they weren't fooling around, despite being the newest ARCA multi-car racing team.
They entered the test armed with three drivers—veteran Chase Austin, CRA competitor Jared Marks and Canadian Tire Series driver Maryeve Dufault.
At the end the test, they had made their presence known as Dufault led the TMR charge by placing her No. 12b Tony Marks Racing Dodge Charger into 28th out of 58 competitors after posting her fastest lap at 49.203 seconds at 182.916 miles per hour. With her speed, she edged out nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and the defending series champion Patrick Sheltra, though also sat second fastest of the six females on hand. Her teammates Marks and Austin ranked 41st and 42nd respectively overall as the team leaned more towards comfort rather than speed for the test.
“Overall, we’re completely satisfied with the way the test came out,” said Tony Marks, owner of Tony Marks Racing. “Chase, Jared and Maryeve all did an exceptional job shaking the car down and producing great feedback. I appreciate Chase being here with the team as a driver coach to the future of our great program. Maryeve did exactly what she needed to do and we believe she gained a lot of respect from her competitors.”
Jared Marks, the youngest of the three drivers, is allowed to test but cannot race on the superspeedways till he turns 18, as per ARCA rules. He is allowed till then to run the short track races to gain experience.
“Jared will run some ARCA races later this year and we wanted to make sure he was comfortable in the car not to mention gather priceless seat time," Tony Marks said. We’ll be back next month and hope we can continue to gain the trust and respect of our competitors while also deliver solid results for our team partners.”
Dufault, a native of Los Angeles, spent the 2010 racing in the Canadian Tire Series on various short tracks and road courses. Though she has now moved to the ARCA Series, hoping to gain more experience and respect as she continues her climb up the racing ladder.
“I’m really happy with the progression we had at the test," she said. "I felt really comfortable in the car and I achieved what I wanted to do. I cannot say enough about the Tony Marks Racing team. They did an amazing job. They’ve worked really hard despite having very little time to put the car together. We showed we had a very competitive piece. I really have a positive feeling for us for the race.”
TMR plans to take two of three cars and run them in the season opener at Daytona next month with Dufault and possibly Austin as her teammate. Team officials said they would release the schedule later this year, but said that Marks will be behind the wheel of the second car for at least 11 races.
Though they don't plan on relaxing from now till Daytona as the Napoleon, Ohio-based team spent Monday testing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, shaking down their short track program with their three drivers.