Trackhouse Racing Team will have a guaranteed starting spot in each NASCAR Cup Series race in 2021 through a deal between Justin Marks and Spire Motorsports.
Marks unveiled his new team Wednesday afternoon, naming Daniel Suarez as the driver. As he put together his operation, Marks also worked for months trying to buy a charter for the team’s long-term security before coming upon one to lease for the first season from Spire Motorsports.
“It has to do with the larger picture of the business of the entire sport right now, which is television contracts and how people are finding ways to go to the racetrack. It was much more difficult for us (to get a charter) than I anticipated it being. Much more difficult for that very reason,” said Marks. “There are a lot of charter buyers out there. I will say unfortunately, there is not a lot of charter buyers out there that are trying to build championship-caliber race teams over the next few years, so that made things difficult.
“We aggressively pursued three charters. We lost two to other bidders; we had an owner change his mind in the 11th hour and decided not to sell us one, which really, really put us in a very, very vulnerable spot. It was very disappointing. I knew a little bit about what Spire was trying to build over there, I know they’ve got a long-term vision for growth over there, and I just called them and said, look, I’ve got a driver, I’ve got partners, I’ve got an operational partnership, and I was just kicked to the curb by an owner, and I need some real help. Spire extended an olive branch, and I worked with Jeff (Dickerson) and T.J. (Puchyr) to find a way to lease their charter for 2021. It gets us on the racetrack. It was great that they were able to do that. We’re going right back to the charter buying market when the race season starts next year.”
Trackhouse Racing Team will operate from the Richard Childress Racing campus, its technical partner. However, Trackhouse will be an independent team with its own employees.
In a statement, Spire revealed it has possession of three charters. Spire entered the Cup Series with the charter from Furniture Row Racing and will take control of the charter from Leavine Family Racing when that team shuts its doors at the end of the season. Spire still plans on expanding to a two-car operation in ’21.
“Spire Motorsports has secured a third NASCAR charter and will lease a charter to Justin Marks and his organization, Track, as they endeavor to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series next season,” said Spire co-owner T.J. Puchyr. “Spire currently remains committed to operating a two-car team in 2021. We’ve worked closely with Justin and his team for several years, so we’re proud to help them get their program off the ground.”