Marcis gains Clash entry: Record field of starters possible
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Nov. 30) -- Veteran team owner/driver Dave Marcis, who has won pole positions and races in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, was selected Thursday as the "Wild Card" starter for the Busch Clash of 96 on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Daytona International Speedway.
If every qualified driver starts the Clash a record field of 17 will participate. In addition to Marcis, 15 Busch Pole Award winners from the 1995 Winston Cup season plus NASCAR Busch Series pole champion David Green are eligible to start. The starting lineup for the 18th annual Clash will be drawn on Thursday, Feb. 8.
Ironically, 7-time series champion Dale Earnhardt, who's benefitted from Marcis' work in test sessions and who was announced as a spokesperson for Busch prior to the drawing, picked Marcis' name. The draw among the second-round fastest qualifiers from the Winston Cup Series is staged each year at the press conference held with the NASCAR Winston Cup awards banquet at the Waldorf=Astoria.
While the drawing was held in the "Big Apple," Marcis, acknowledged as one of NASCAR racing's hardest workers and most knowledgeable participants, toiled in his race shop in Arden, N.C., preparing for the upcoming season.
"Are you kidding me!" Marcis erupted on hearing the news. "Goodness gracious I'm telling ya -- that's fantastic! When I go out in the shop and tell my guys they're going to be really excited. It gives me a lot of enthusiasm, I can tell you that!"
Marcis, who has five wins and 14 Busch Poles in his 28-year career, qualified for the Busch Clash of 82 with a pole position in 1981 -- the last he's won.
In recent years he has spent many test days working for team owner Richard Childress, Earnhardt's car owner, fine-tuning his Chevrolets. Marcis said he would once again assist Childress at the first General Motors test at Daytona, on Jan. 3-5.
"We'll probably do both tests in January," said Marcis, citing the second GM session on Jan. 15-17. Marcis also confirmed that he would have Childress engines in his cars during stock car Speedweeks, Feb. 7-18.
"This is going to make more work but I can assure you we can handle it," Marcis said, emotion rising in his voice. "We had talked about preparing a back-up car but now we'll have two cars for sure."
Marcis said the extra exposure garnered by competing in the Busch Clash, which is telecast live by CBS TV and broadcast live on MRN Radio, was not lost on him.
"Sponsorship for 96 is looking good right now but yes sir, this will help that -- most definitely," he noted. "We're enthused about it, but we're not ready to announce it."
As of now, other Chevrolet drivers who will join Marcis and Earnhardt on the line for the Clash include season pole titlist and Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon, Bobby and Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader, two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin and Darrell Waltrip. Scheduled to line up in Fords are Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, John Andretti, Ted Musgrave and Hut Stricklin. Rick Mast will line up in a Pontiac while Green's choice of cars had not been determined.