By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com Martinsville Va. - 2001 has been a tough year for NASCAR'S elder statesman, but Wisconsin native Dave Marcus, the oldest active driver on the circuit, remains determined and focus. "It's not so much fun when...
By Thomas Chemris - Motorsport.com
Martinsville Va. - 2001 has been a tough year for NASCAR'S elder statesman, but Wisconsin native Dave Marcus, the oldest active driver on the circuit, remains determined and focus.
"It's not so much fun when you have to go home, but I still love to do this", notes Marcus, who last competed full time in the Winston Cup Series in 2000.
The driver of the NO. 71 Realtree Chevrolet has been attempting to run a part time schedule, but has had a great deal of difficulty making the competitive fields, qualifying for only three events this year.
Marcus, who turned Sixty last March, is a throwback to days gone by. He remains steadfast as an owner-driver and seems to turn a blind eye to corporate racing, right down to his tradition of not wearing race shoes. "Dexter Wing-Tips, they're real comfortable, I have worn them my entire career."
As for being an owner-driver, Marcus does admit that the lack of financing is part of the reason for the team's difficulties. "It's damn near impossible, I really appreciate the folks from Realtree. It's a situation that works well for both of us. They cannot afford the millions it takes to run full time, and I need a sponsor that stands by my part time schedule."
Marcus returned to Martinsville determined to make the field. "My first win came hear, this place is real special"
Marcus, who brought along fellow Wisconsin driver Dick Trickle, allowed Trickle to qualify the car, and Marcus will start the race from the back of the field. The two have worked together for years, and when not involved in NASCAR, the they work as test drivers and instructors for the IROC series. "Working with IROC is great, I really enjoy when the open wheel drivers really want to learn what stock car racing is all about"
During his career, Marcus has racked up five wins and fourteen career wins. His most noted successes come on the super speedways. He still holds the record for the most consecutive starts in the Daytona 500, with a string of thirty-two. A record that fell in 2000, as for the first time in thirty-three years, he failed to make the field.
Marcus will continue his super speedway prowess, as the team heads to Talladega this week to run in the fall classic. Marcus turned heads in the spring event as he charged to the front and led the event, until mechanical problems put him out of contention. "We do well on the super speedways, in part, due to the help we get from Richard Childress. We get our motors from him, and dyno test with him."
Marcus will continue to attempt races through the end of 2001, and again attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 in February. Whether he makes the race or not, that will be the last time Dave Marcus will drive a Winston Cup car.
His retirement will not only be the end of a remarkable career, but it will mark the end of an era.