Pat Davis has never been to a NASCAR infield, but he's been inside many hospital waiting rooms counseling families in turmoil.Â He's never met a Winston Cup driver, but he deals with people daily who are huge fans of them.Â He's never stood on...
Pat Davis has never been to a NASCAR infield, but he's been inside many hospital waiting rooms counseling families in turmoil. He's never met a Winston Cup driver, but he deals with people daily who are huge fans of them. He's never stood on pit road in front of 150,000 people on a Sunday afternoon, but he has stood behind a pulpit in front of hundreds of church members on a Sunday morning.
With this in mind, Ultra Motorsports publicist Mike Davis thought it might be interesting enough to invite his dad, the minister and pastoral care coordinator at Hutcheson Medical Center in Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga., to spend a day with Jimmy Spencer --- the most flamboyant, opinionated and brutally honest driver in NASCAR. Mike appointed his father to be Jimmy's public relations man this Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the idea that if Jimmy gets out of line at any point during the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 on Sunday, it might not hurt to have a man of God by his side.
Once the day is done, Pat will write about his experience with Mr. Excitement, detailing how a Winston Cup driver spends the hours leading up to a race. It may be a revelation to those who assume life on the NASCAR circuit is all fun and games. Pat's story will also provide a unique perspective from someone who's never been inside a Winston Cup garage. Needless to say, Ultra Motorsports is preparing a set of rookie stripes for its new PR representative.
With the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 (Noon EDT on NBC) now upon us, Mike sits down with his father, the Rev. Pat Davis, to discuss topics ranging from this weekend's expectations with Jimmy to whether God is actually a NASCAR fan.
Interview with Pat Davis -
Dad, all of us at Ultra Motorsports are looking forward to having you and Mom at the track this weekend, and we want to say thanks for actually agreeing to take Jimmy Spencer off our hands for a little while. Inquiring minds want to know, since you've never met Jimmy, what do you think he'll be like the first time you meet him? "I think it depends. From what you've told me he sometimes has mood swings. Like when I talked to you on the phone last week, you said he was in a bad mood."
Yeah, but that was because he wrecked his primary car at Martinsville during the first practice. Remember how mad you were when I wrecked your car the day of my 17th birthday?"
"Let's not talk about that. I expect that if the car is dialed in and he qualifies well, Jimmy will be very open and fun to be around. If he doesn't qualify well and he puts Mongo in the wall again, let's just say I won't be asking for his autograph."
That's good, Dad, because good PR people don't ask for autographs. How did your friends and co-workers react when they found out you would be going to Atlanta to be Jimmy's PR guy for the day?
"They all want tickets and autographs. I've never had so many friends."
If you like this gig, do you think you might give up your day job at Hutcheson Medical Center to get into racing?
"Well, I have to admit I've always dreamed of being the PR rep./chaplain for the green and white No. 7 Hutcheson Medical Center Dodge driven by none other than Mr. Excitement. This is just the first step in making that dream come true."
Well this is your lucky day, Dad, 'cause we're looking for a sponsor. How about you pull some strings for us.
"Would we get free tickets to any race we want to go to?"
All you want. We'll even put your face on them.
"How much does it cost to sponsor a team?"
Since you're my dad, we'll cut Hutcheson a deal so they can keep you on the payroll. Let's get to the next question: Have you thought about how you will react if Jimmy is involved in a post-race altercation similar to the one at Michigan two months ago?
"I believe my position as the PR rep., and chaplain will be invaluable if that situation occurs. I will pray â^À¦ and watch."
If you had raced modifieds against Jimmy back in the mid-1980s and he had spun you out on the last lap to win a race, how would you have handled the situation?
"I think Jimmy probably believes in the golden rule as I do: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' So you could say I would be morally and spiritually obligated to take him out in the next race."
As an ordained minister and biblical scholar, in your opinion is God a NASCAR fan and, if so, is he the reason Ryan Newman gets such good fuel mileage?
"God is absolutely a NASCAR fan. In the Bible it says, 'Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? So run in such a way you may win.' God loves racing. As for Ryan Newman, I watched him go 75 laps at Kansas on one tank of fuel and still have enough gas to do burnouts. I then concluded that, yes, divine intervention must have played a part."
If there was one character in the Bible who might've been a good race car driver, who would it have been?
"I figure Paul must have raced chariots at some point in his life. He knew the value of a good race, a good fight and good faith. These are three indispensable ingredients for a good race car driver."
Since people in the Bible could live a span of 800 years, at what age do you think they would not be considered a "young gun" anymore?
"Caleb was still conquering enemies at 85, so I would guess that once they reach the age of 400, they are no longer a young gun."
Last question. Spencer insists there are actually 11 Commandments in the Bible instead of 10; the 11th being, "Thou shalt never forget." Is this true?
"If so, then Jimmy was simply doing what God instructed when he said, 'Jimmy Spencer never forgets."
Yes, I think that's what he was implying.
"Then a man of God he truly is."