Mark's run to the championship wasn't without incident. "I banged my car up a little before the divisional race," he said. "After the race I had to get it fixed, plus I heard that if you're running at a national event they like you to have a presentable car so I went out and got it painted and it looks great." Mark wanted to send a special word of thanks to Jimmy Teague of the Hot Rod Shop who did the paint and body work on his 1969 Camaro. "I've had this car for a long time and it is an original '69 S/S car. It had a four speed in it when I got it but I've modified it a bit to make it easier to race. It's the only car that I have ever raced." Mark said that he used to come to the races with his sister and that he always knew that he wanted to race. "She just came as a spectator and brought me along and I loved it. I knew that when everything was right I would race. I used to work on the car and my dad would say that just because it has nuts and bolts that doesn't mean you have to take it apart. Well I did. I guess it's kind of a guy thing, huh?"
Mark Simonian has been married to is wife, Shirley, for twenty-three years. They have a son, Michael and a daughter, Kortney. "They both have cars but neither of them race right now," Mark said. "Kortney used to race in the Jr. Dragster program but she hasn't raced in a while. We'd like them to and they have the cars if they want to race, so we'll see." Mark was quick to thank his wife for all of her support as well as the folks at the tow shop where he works. "I've been at the same job for about twenty-five years and the owner of the business is very supportive." Like almost all of the racers who come and experience the Summit Racing E/T Series championships Mark was overwhelmed by the experience. "You couldn't ask for more. We got there on Wednesday and went to the dinner on Thursday night and from then on everything was done so well. I wish every racer could experience what I'm feeling right now," he added. "My wife and family had a great time and I hope to do it again next year." He then pointed out that after his last major accomplishment, winning the Race of Champions, he had a terrible year. "It was like everyone was gunning for me and I couldn't do anything right." Well I guess he got that monkey off his back early this time because shortly after going to the winner's circle in Pomona Mark headed for the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he had a very good weekend. "I won one of the days and ended up tied for first place, but I lost the tie breaker because I had one buyback and the other guy didn't have any. Still it was a pretty good way to end the year." And there won't be a lot of time off for the champ because the 2006 season starts up real soon. "Sacramento opens their season on January first and I plan on being there," the Fresno, California native said. "I'm about midway between Sacramento and Bakersfield and I run at both places so I get to do a lot of racing." And he can get ready for a lot of the racers to take aim at him again this year, after all, he is the Summit Racing Equipment Pro national champion.
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