Dave Marcis, driver of the No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo, will close the door of his racing career where it opened -- at the Daytona 500. Marcis launched his career at the 1968 Daytona 500, and has competed in NASCAR for five ...
Dave Marcis, driver of the No. 71 Realtree Chevrolet Monte Carlo, will close the door of his racing career where it opened -- at the Daytona 500. Marcis launched his career at the 1968 Daytona 500, and has competed in NASCAR for five decades.
What are your fondest memories of Daytona?
"Probably the first time coming here and seeing the place, winning the 125-miler here in 1976 and just the thrill of being here at Daytona every year. I don't remember what year Buddy Baker won the race (1980) and I ran second all day to him. However, we had a problem in the pit and had lost a lap. When we got back out there, I drafted on Buddy all day, the entire day. You finished second, but you were down a lap.
"Meeting Mr. Bill France, Sr. was really special when I first came down here and worked with him to help promote NASCAR 35 years ago. He used to tell us guys to get over there and talk to any news camera guys or any press people because he wanted us to help him to promote the sport. He wanted us to help him and he knew it was going someplace. In those days, we went to the news media. They didn't come to us. He (France Sr.) used to tell us in plain English that we had better be talking to them.
"It doesn't really seem like that many years ago when you stop and think about it. But coming down here with a '66 Chevrolet with a 427 cubic inch big block engine was a big handful. There was a lot of horsepower there. We didn't have all those rear spoilers and we didn't have the good tires. They were narrower and they had tread on them. It was simpler, but it was a hell of a handful.
"This track really means a lot to mean. It's very important. This is where I began my NASCAR career right here in 1968. And here we are back here in 2002 trying to make this our 33rd Daytona 500. We're here again with a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo. If we can make this race, it'll mean an awful lot to me and to my sponsors and to the guys that work on my cars, all the guys at Richard Childress Racing, and all the race fans."