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Australian V8 Supercar Driver Marcus Marshall Visits Martinsville

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Marcus Marshall drives the No. 26 Irwin Ford Falcon in the Australian V8 Supercar Series.  He’s visiting Martinsville Speedway this weekend to get a taste of stock car racing in America.  Marshall stopped by the infield media center for a Q&A session to talk about his experience.

MARCUS MARSHALL – No. 26 Irwin Ford Falcon, V8 SuperCar Series (Australia) --  WHAT BRINGS YOU HERE TO THE U.S. AND DO YOU HAVE AN ASPIRATIONS TO RACE STATESIDE?  “The reason I’m here is for the Ultimate Tradesman Challenge for Irwin Tools.  It’s a chance for someone to win $1.26 million.  This year it’s Australia and New Zealand against the USA, so the winner from the Australia-New Zealand challenge comes to the USA for the final in Phoenix this year and goes head-to-head against the USA.  It’s kind of a cool concept and it’s really taken off in Australia already.  This is our first year with this competition and it was already run here last year and it was very successful, so that’s the main reason I’m here.  I’ve never really looked at NASCAR before and it’s an eye-opener for me.  It’s not too different of racing in Australia, but that’s basically the reason why I’m here.” 

HAVE YOU TALKED TO MARCOS AMBROSE SINCE HE’S BEEN HERE?  “Yeah, I saw Marcos at Christmas last year and had a good chat about it all.  Obviously, he’s doing very well at the moment, too.  He sort of paved the way for Australians to sort of look overseas and look abroad other than the European or Formula One path.  It suits the Australians more because we’re racing in a touring car as we call it in Australia, or a sedan-type car.  For a young guy to come over here and come out of touring cars, it’s a lot more familiar.  Whereas in Australia it’s very hard to be an open-wheel driver and go to Europe and make it in Formula One, so it’s probably a more easier path for young Australian drivers for sure.  And Marcos is doing very well over here for the moment.” 

HAS MARCOS COMING OVER TO THE USA MADE NASCAR MORE POPULAR IN AUSTRALIA?  “Yeah, definitely.  We get it live over there on Fox Sports, so it’s available to us all the time and then we get replays through the week.  I think Marcos definitely has had an impact.  He had a good profile in Australia.  He was twice the Australian V8 Supercar champion and he’s exposed NASCAR to a lot of Australians.  You find yourself talking about NASCAR a lot more than what you used to in the past for sure because, as I said before, it gives people a reason to talk about it.  So it’s definitely opened things up for sure.” 

DO YOU SEE MORE AUSTRALIANS COMING HERE TO RACE IN THE FUTURE?  “Yeah, we have a speedway at home, what we call the Thunderdome at Quarter Park and I think it’s about a one-and-a-half mile track and it’s the only one in Australia.  It hasn’t been used for the past eight years or something like that, so eight or 10 years ago it was very popular and there were some drivers who were probably looking to come here.  It was pretty popular and now there are rumors at the moment of it opening up again, so that kind of fits with NASCAR maybe looking to be more international and Australia as a place to maybe take a round of one of their affiliated championships, so I think it’s possible.” 

HOW IS YOUR SEASON SHAPING UP IN THE V8 SERIES?  “We’re a new team.  This is our fourth year now in the championship and my first year in the V8 Supercar Series, so I’m a rookie.  As a team, we haven’t had very good results in the past.  The first round this year we had the best result for Irwin as a sponsor with my car and right now our two cars are 20th and 21st in the championship at the moment.  We’ve got two rounds already down and while it could go a lot better, we’re looking to be a lot stronger at the end of the year.  We’ve got some engine developments coming on at the moment and that’s what we’re really looking forward to.”

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Australian V8 Supercar Driver Marcus Marshall Visits Martinsville
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