Win for Showtime Motorsports at Watkins Glen in Franklin Road Apparel Classic
September 13, 2022
Watkins Glen, NEW YORK – September 13, 2022 - The Franklin Road Apparel Showtime Motorsports team celebrated their second win of the season at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, September 11. Driver Justin Marks led from the drop of the green flag to the checkers with an impressive display of foot perfect driving in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli SpeedTour event.
Conditions at the legendary circuit for the TA Class Franklin Road Apparel Classic could not have been more different than Saturday’s practice and qualification sessions. With constant rain from start-to-finish making the track hazardous for all classes of cars. It was a survival job for many of the racers, but Justin reigned supreme and in spite of the numerous restarts. Teammate and team principal Ken Thwaits had less luck - contact with a GT car on Lap 6 resulted in a broken front suspension and early retirement.
The Franklin Road Apparel cars were fast all weekend, with Justin grabbing pole position with a fastest lap of 1:43:892 - over a full second quicker than Dyson in P2. Teammate and principal Ken Thwaits wasn't far behind, the popular Tennessean pilot claiming a terrific third spot on the grid in a time of 1:45:234.
Justin explained his explosive start to the weekend and complimented the team when he said after qualifying, “This is my first time driving for this team, [owner] Ken [Thwaits] and Showtime Motorsports, and this is awesome,” said Marks. “I was really excited to come to Watkins Glen, it’s one of my favorite race tracks. The car was really, really, really good right off the truck in the very first test session, so immediately we were just fine tuning the thing. It’s a testament to how important preparation is. It means you’re not just chasing big problems at the race track. We just made a couple tweaks. It’s my first time ever on the Pirelli tire in this class, so I was just learning the tendencies of the tire and how to get around this place. I took all the pieces from two days of practice and testing and put it all together in one lap and got the pole.”
The speed shown by the Franklin Road Apparel cars was the decisive factor for success as Ken himself opined after the race, "It was a great weekend overall. In the dry we [my car] were really quick all weekend and Justin was too. We revealed that during qualifying. Of course, the heavens opened up today and it just changed everything. Unfortunately, I got together with another class car, and it took us out of the race. It was my mistake and apologies to the Porsche."
"Justin was super good. He's a super good driver as he brought it home for the TA1 overall win. It was awesome."
In victory lane Justin echoed Ken's sentiments when we spoke to him after the race and the popular driver gave a hint about next year too, "You work for three straight days to try and get the thing working perfectly in the dry and then the racing gods decided to throw a twist in and make it rain on race day!"
Complimenting Ken's highly professional team he added, "They [Showtime Motorsports] made really great changes. They brought a great car to the race track. This is a testament to the whole level of preparation and how great this car is. All I had to do is just clear Chris on those restarts into Turn 1 then just maintain. It was a relatively straightforward race which is easy to do when you've got a car like that."
"My NASCAR team is competing for a Championship so I’m focused on that for the next eight weeks. I will go testing with these guys in the winter and I'm planning on doing some more [racing] next year."
The first ever Franklin Road Apparel Classic at Watkins Glen was a triumph for Ken and his team who are now very much in the front rank of TA teams in both senior classes.
TV Broadcast details for the Franklin Road Classic are as follows:
TA/XGT/SGT/GT - Sep 18, 5:30p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
TA/XGT/SGT/GT (Encore Presentation) - Sep 18, 11:30p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
TA2 - Sep 14, 7:00p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
TA2 (Encore Presentation) - Sep 15, 12:30 a.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
The Trans Am roadshow reconvenes in Virginia October 6 to 9 for the Mission Foods VIR SpeedTour at Virginia International Raceway.
About Showtime Motorsports:
The Showtime Motorsports team is based in Franklin, Tennessee and is the power behind the Franklin Road Apparel brand. Showtime is responsible for preparing the cars for the track and keeping Ken Thwaits' outstanding classic Camaro collection in prime condition. Showtime Motorsports competes in both the TA and TA2 classes in the legendary Trans Am muscle car series with growing success. The race team consists of a dynamic, passionate and talented staff of professionals dedicated to excellence both on and off the track.