CHARLOTTE, NC --- Every major league baseball team has that one utility player they can call on to fill many roles, pinch-hitter, replacement starter, pinch runner, etc. At Joe Gibbs Racing, they have their own utility man that can be called on...
CHARLOTTE, NC --- Every major league baseball team has that one utility player they can call on to fill many roles, pinch-hitter, replacement starter, pinch runner, etc. At Joe Gibbs Racing, they have their own utility man that can be called on to fill many roles. Spotter, driver coach, special projects coordinator, pit crew coach, those are just a few of the many roles filled by Curtis Markham at Joe Gibbs Racing. Markham, a former full-time driver in the NASCAR Busch Series can always be found with a smile as he does whatever it takes to help the Busch and Truck Series programs at Joe Gibbs Racing.
This weekend, the Richmond, VA native heads back home to the Richmond International Raceway where he will pull his own type of "double duty." , 41, will spend his time working as a driver coach and spotter for Coy Gibbs, driver of the # 20 MBNA Truck on Thursday. On Friday he will serve as spotter for Mike McLaughlin, driver of the # 18 MBNA Pontiac in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Markham, who has 86 career Busch Series starts, who would probably prefer to be behind the wheel of a car or truck this weekend, will still give 100% effort in helping to lead Gibbs and McLaughlin to solid races this weekend.
"I love working here at Joe Gibbs Racing, but I like driving as well," Markham said. "I am kind of at a crossroad in my career, I can still get the job done behind the wheel, but most team owners are looking for drivers that are so young they could be my kids."
Markham got his start in racing in the Richmond area. In 1977, Markham caught the racing bug, but wasn't yet 18, the age he needed to be to race at Southside Speedway. His Mom helped him to pull a few strings and he began racing at the age of 17. A successful career followed with two track championships at Southside and two track championships at Old Dominion Speedway. Along the way he won the Late Model 300-lap race at Martinsville Speedway on four occasions, a feat never matched to this day. Following his late model career Markham spent time in the Busch North Series and the Busch Series. Over the last few years, Markham has made spot starts in the Busch Series.
With no regular driving job available, Markham turned to working with drivers as a spotter and consultant. This led to a full time job at Joe Gibbs Racing, along with additional duties as a pit crew coordinator among many other duties.
Joe Gibbs Racing Vice President for Busch and Truck Series Operations, Steve DeSouza, echoes the feelings of everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing.
"We are proud to have Curtis Markham in our organization, he is a great team player, well liked by everyone and he is an invaluable asset to Joe Gibbs Racing. In addition to being a good friend, he is a person I can count on to take a project from the assigned point to completion."
One key part of Markham's job at Joe Gibbs Racing is the spotter role. With his driving experience, Markham is able to lead Gibbs and McLaughlin through each race as if he were in the car himself.
"I try to relate back to Coy and Mike what I liked to hear when I was behind the wheel," Markham said. "I try to limit conversation to just the important points, it takes so much concentration to drive one of these cars or trucks. I try and keep Coy and Mike thinking about nothing but the race."
McLaughlin has enjoyed having Curtis on his team this year.
"First off, Curtis is a great race car driver and that helps him to be such a good spotter. He is so valuable to our success at Joe Gibbs Racing, regardless of what needs to be done, we can always count on Curtis to come through for the team."
Away from the racetrack, Markham enjoys spending time with his wife, Julie, and boys Tommy, 9 and David, 6. Despite being on the road every weekend of the racing season, Markham still manages to find special time to spend with his family. His wife Julie has a big role in racing herself. She serves as President of the Busch Series Ladies Association.
Markham is looking for a special weekend in Richmond.
"It's always neat to see old friends and family at the track. Hopefully we can give Coy and Mike what they need to record strong finishes this weekend. A win on your home track always seems to be special."
As the races get underway this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing knows it can count on Markham to give 100% effort in leading their Busch and Truck Series teams to the front of the pack.
Curtis Markham ...... A real racer.