ASHLEY ASKS……. Mark Dilley
Before a crowd in the middle of the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo, Micks Motorsports essentially solidified their commitment to the future of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and motorsports in Canada.
The team announced that Mark Dilley will return full-time to the series, behind the wheel of the No. 64 Leland Industries Ford. Additionally, rookie T.J. Rinomato will run four road/street course events behind the wheel of the No. 02.
The bigger news was the commitment the team is making to the future of motorsports, with plans to support five teams in 2020, before bumping the total to eight in 2021 across all NASCAR’s divisions.
POPULAR SPEED caught up with Mark Dilley shortly after the announcement to get his thoughts entering the 2019 campaign.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts entering the season?
MARK DILLEY: Pretty excited. To get back to my original number is a pretty big thing for me. I’m excited to do that, and really excited to have Leland Industries back on – 20 years now, which is pretty amazing. We have our new partners – SharkBite, Watson, HOLR Magazine, and the Rinomato Group.
It’s exciting for us with T.J. coming on as a partner, as far as him driving and the business side of things is very exciting for myself and Kerry. The guys have done a great job preparing the cars, so we’re excited. We’re excited to go into 2019.
PS: What track are you most looking forward to on the schedule?
MARK: I still say Antigonish (Riverside International Speedway). I crashed bad there last year on the first lap – got in the wall. I want to go back there. I like that, I like Trois Riveres – I like them all, I really do. I’m excited to get back to Jukasa (Motor Speedway). I haven’t run well there, so I want to get back into the swing of that and get going. I used to run really good there in the day, so we’re going to do some testing there.
PS: So with that said, how much of a change will it be going from doing the partial schedule back to the full-time deal?
MARK: I think I should be okay; I should adjust. I mean, I did it so long, it’s nothing new to me. We’re going to get started quickly. We’re going to Arizona next week to do some different testing, and go to a road race school. We’re starting early; we’ll start testing up here as early as April 15. So it should be good.
PS: What are your thoughts on the state of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series entering 2019?
MARK: I think it’s like anything. It’s not just motorsports, it’s everywhere – whether it’s football or hockey, everybody is fighting for the same thing. That’s tough and it takes strong marketing to get people to come to your event, and that’s not just the NASCAR level, but every level of motorcar racing, and every sport. We’re all feeling the push a bit so it’s going to take time as we’re all in a rebuild. I know NASCAR has switched a lot of things internally, and I believe if we keep pushing forward and everybody does what they need to do, we’ll be good.
PS: I should’ve admittedly asked this earlier, but why do you feel right now is the right time to go back full-time?
MARK: Well one, I am not getting any younger, and then we also have the plan – T.J. and myself – to market five teams in the future and that’ll be taking some of the younger kids up through, like a Treyten Lapcevich, and moving him up into the Pinty’s Series and upwards. Canada needs someone to run a good, full-funded team to get drivers south and that’s our goal.
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