CONCORD, N.C. – This weekend, No. 48 team hauler driver Mark Ellis will be in his home state.
Ellis grew up in up-state New York in Utica, roughly 140 miles northwest from Watkins Glen International.
Before settling into his current role with Hendrick Motorsports in 2017, Ellis wore several hats in motorsports and engineering after earning degrees from Nashville Auto Diesel College in 2007 and the School of Automotive Machinists (SAMTech) in Houston, Texas, in 2008.
He started as an engine tuner with Arrington Engines in Martinsville, Virginia, before moving to the NHRA Drag Racing Series, working with two different teams. In 2014, he was a crew member on the 2014 NHRA Drag Racing Top Fuel championship-winning team with driver Tony Schumaker.
After the championship season, Ellis got his break in NASCAR, taking a job as the transporter hauler for a Cup Series team in 2015.
Two years later, a hauler driver position with Hendrick Motorsports opened up that Ellis couldn’t resist pursuing.
“They had an opening on the No. 48 that I heard about,” Ellis said. “I applied for it, interviewed with Chad (Knaus), and Chris Bryant and Michael Landis and here I am.”
Ellis has built his career around motorsports, but his career path in athletics started far from it.
“Probably since I’ve been six or seven years old, I’ve been throwing a bowling ball,” Ellis said.
He isn’t just a recreational bowler, either.
Ellis, a member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), is eligible to participate in bowling’s most prestigious events.
“I can compete at basically any level that you may see the pros on TV,” he said. “I can show up at those tournaments and participate just as they do.”
Ellis participates in a weekly bowling league and when his work schedule permits, he enjoys traveling to PBA events around the country. Recently, he was in New York to bowl in the nationals tournament, one of the biggest events on the PBA tour.
“Everybody flies in from all around the world to compete and you get one shot to post your best score," he said.
In his NASCAR career, Ellis has met a lot of people in the sport who have an interest in bowling. He sees a number of parallels between the two sports and enjoys bringing the two sports together.
"With the amount of work and technology and everything that goes into both sides, I feel like there’s a lot of relationships that can be developed and have been developed,” Ellis said.
“I’ve never met or knew that many people interested in bowling when I got here in racing, it’s pretty cool to find out.”