Marcis to test for Skinner By Shawn A. Akers WELCOME, N.C. Not wanting to put its regular driver at risk so soon after surgery, Richard Childress Racing will employ the services of veteran Dave Marcis to test the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet next week when 1999 testing gets under way at Daytona International Speedway, crew chief Larry McReynolds said Tuesday. Mike Skinner, driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet, is currently recovering from knee surgery that was performed earlier this month. He'll not make the trip to Florida when the team goes down for testing for the season-opening Daytona 500.

Ford teams on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will open the preseason at Daytona Sunday, with a two-day session.

"Mike's doing really well, and he would normally do the first test, but we're going to go ahead and let Dave handle those duties," McReynolds said. "There's always a possibility of a wreck or something happening during testing -- we don't need that kind of setback right now. We'll let Mike heal up a couple of more weeks, and then we'll bring him down later in the month and put him back on the race track."

Marcis, the driver of his own No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet, has a long-standing relationship with Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, the driver of Childress' No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet.

"Dave's an experienced veteran and we'll get a lot of good feedback from him," McReynolds said. "We'll be able to take a lot of good notes and then compare them with the ones we'll get from the other test later in the month. We won't miss a beat."

Skinner missed three races this past season due to injuries suffered from a pair of hard accidents, at Atlanta in early March and Texas in early April. He wound up finishing 21st in the standings.

Skinner has been an excellent qualifier at Daytona during his career. He won the Bud Pole at both NASCAR Winston Cup Series races -- the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 -- during his Raybestos Rookie of the Year season in 1997.

Source: NASCAR Online