The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Community Spotlight: Professional Race Team Visits La Harpe

-by Holly Willdrick, Quill Staff

It is not often in the world of professional racing that you get to kick back and spend the evening before a race with family, well at least not during the season. However that is what Justin Marks, driver of the #65 RAB Racing ARCA Series Car, got to do on August 17th.

With the race being at the Illinois Fair Grounds in Springfield, Justin was able to spend the evening in La Harpe at the home of his Uncle Joe and Aunt Jan Gutting and many other family members. A time of games, food and visiting was had by all.

Justin was born in St. Louis and has family throughout Illinois and Iowa. During his youth he spent a great deal of time at the local dirt tracks in the midwest. It was during these times that his love for racing began.

It was his trip to the Indy 500 in 1995, which was a reward from his dad for bring home good grades, that planted the seed of his dream of being a race car driver.

Justin remembers being called into the counselor's office his junior year and being asked what he wanted to do with his life. He replied that he wanted to be a race car driver. "I can still remember the reaction I got. It was like "Yeah right, no seriously, what do you want to do." Justin went on to attend college at California State and graduated with a degree in sports marketing.

It was then that he moved to North Carolina to race with RAB Racing. Up until this point he had spent two years in the competitive Speed World Challenge Series. This is where he was provided with the basis for his sprint-racing skill and got his first paid racing job.

In 2004 he graduated to the GT Class of the Grand American Roles Sports Car Series and four years later he had become an overnight success. He ran both the Rolex Series and World Challenge Touring Car Championships and brought home 13 top fives, 8 podium finishes and 4 wins.

It was at this time he set his sights on NASCAR style stock cars and became a member of the RAB Racing team. RAB racing was founded in August 2004 in a 2000 square foot building with a part time crew of two. A year and a half later they found themselves with a full time crew of 7, working out of a 19,000 square foot building that housed 7 cars.

"I honestly don't think that there is a better team for me to be a involved with in ARCA. RAB Racing is an independent team of young, dedicated people that all have the same goals and have invested themselves in what it takes to win." stated Marks.

The RAB Racing team has had a rough season, but Springfield brought them a good finish. After running in the top 5 for a majority of the day Marks finished 4th in the Allen Crowe 100. This was a great finish considering that the only dirt track experience Marks had came just the day before when he raced in the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series for a 30 lap shootout where he finished 8th.

"I've always been a fan of dirt. Sliding around was a lot of fun. It left a lot in the driver's hands which is the way racing should be." shared Justin.

One of the many highlight of Justin's racing career came in April 2007 at the Kansas Speedway. He knew going in that they had a fast car and a chance at taking the pole, but he did more than that. Justin turned in a time of 31.323 for his qualifying time and broke the track record set back in 2001 by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Driver Ryan Newman. "This was a great accomplishment for not only me but for the team as well. I look up to Newman and I hope the record stands for a long time." added Marks. They took home a 6th place finish that day.

In Justin's free time he likes to hang out in the garage. "I want to be more than just the driver. I like to be hands on in every part." He also likes to get way from the racing scene once in a while and go boating, go karting, to the gym, and hiking/climbing.

To follow Justin Marks racing season you can go to