Justin Marks might have decided to hang up the helmet, but he still is intent on being involved in motorsports. That might mean team ownership in NASCAR.
“I’m crafting a bold argument around NASCAR’s 2021 Next Gen model,” Marks told RACER’s Marshall Pruett. “I’ve always believed that NASCAR is a great sport and a great entertainment property, and I think that they would admit this to you as well, that they’ve sort of lost their way. But 2021 is going to be the most dramatic economic restructuring of the sport, in the history of the sport.”
With that in mind, Marks believes it will make it more compelling for new companies to market in the sport with the return on investment and cost versus exposure.
NASCAR is on schedule to launch its Next Gen car in ’21. There is enthusiasm around the technology of the car, while Goodyear will also be moving from a 15- to 18-inch wheel. In his season-ending address to the media, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said officials were going to be putting the “stock” back in stock car.
“I’m looking at that, but an entrance into team ownership at that level is not viable unless we have a significant multiyear funding partner to help do it,” continued Marks. “I’m not going to go in and struggle. I’m not going to go in underfunded. So, they’re sort of like vetting that out right now.”
During his NASCAR career, Marks drove for well-off teams like Chip Ganassi and teams with a much smaller budget, such as Rick Ware and Jay Robinson. Marks made 79 starts across the three national series with one victory in the Xfinity Series, with Ganassi, in 2016.
Having experienced both sides of the garage has been a good thing for Marks and will help as he views potential ownership.
“Anything that I embark on, anything that I dedicate my life to, the only measure of success is winning, right?” said Marks. “Or is it the highest level? There’s a lot of guys that manage their expectations and go, ‘A top 20 is like a win for us,’ or, ‘A 15th-place finish is a win for us.’ If I go into team ownership, a win is a win for us. That’s the only potential outcome for me.
“I’m not going to embark on that journey if I don’t feel like I have that opportunity. The fact of the matter is the ownership in Cup’s all aging out. Nobody really knows what the succession plans in those companies are, and with such a fundamental economic restructuring of the sport in ’21, I think that opportunity is there to come in as a young next-gen owner and carve a path for the next 20 or 30 years.”