Dave Marcis, 58, host of Scrapbook this month, probably has accomplished more with less than any other NASCAR Winston Cup driver. For the past 20 years, Marcis' small, low-budget operation has managed to survive in an environment with much larger and richer teams. A native of Wausau, Wisconsin, Marcis joined Winston Cup in 1968 and has started a record 32 consecutive Daytona 500s. He has five Winston Cup victories--four driving for others and the other driving for himself in 1982. Marcis and his wife, Helen, who have been married for 32 years, reside at Avery's Creek near Asheville, North Carolina. They have two children, both college graduates. Shawn Marie, 28, teaches second grade at Oakley Elementary in Asheville. Richard, 27, is an engineer at Roger Penske-owned Detroit Diesel. When asked if Richard is interested in racing, Marcis says, "No, he's too smart for that."
15 Cents Worth
In 1982, I won the rain-shortened first race at Richmond, earning $19,000. But it was an argument over 15 cents that probably saved me a bundle. After going through Victory Lane ceremonies and post-race inspection, I loaded the car on my double-axle trailer and headed my Chevy van down the interstate. I stopped at a tollbooth, and the keeper said the fee was 75 cents for five axles on the ground. I told him I only had four axles, two on the van and two on the trailer, and that was 60 cents. No, I had five, he insisted. We quibbled for several seconds. I got out of the van and looked. Indeed, the rear wheels of the race car were on the ground. In all the commotion and excitement at the track, I had scotched the rear wheels but forgotten the safety chain. Somehow, probably a bump in the road, the car had rolled backward. The exhaust pipes were caught on the scotch that had been behind the rear wheels, preventing the car from breaking free and rolling completely off the trailer. Gladly, I paid the extra 15 cents.
The #71 car of Dave Marcis...
The #71 car of Dave Marcis has been a fixture on the Winston Cup trial for more than 32 years. As the dean of racing, Marcis can still slug it out on the track with the best of them.
I don't remember the year, but Bobby Allison and I were in Atlanta to promote an upcoming race. Bobby's friends invited us fishing at their private pond. We caught so many bass that if they didn't weigh more than 3 pounds, we threw them back. We kept 10 to 12 from 4 pounds up. We went to a K-mart and bought two electric knives to clean and filet the fish, then we checked into a swank hotel near the Atlanta airport. We put the fish on a counter in the room and quickly made a big mess. The smell was awful. We iced the fish and took them to our car. Returning to the room, the odor was overwhelming. Bobby had an idea. He wrapped the leftovers in a newspaper and put them in a waste can in the hallway. Then he went to the front desk and told the clerk our room had a terrible odor in it and asked if we could have another. We got it.
A Hot Tip
Years ago, drivers burned their heels on the hot floorboards of their race cars. The burns came gradually as a race progressed, and they were deep, requiring a long time to heal. You'd see guys limping for days, even months after a race, especially on a short track. One race morning at North Wilkesboro, I think in 1971, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Bobby Isaac, and I were standing around discussing the burns. Richard was experimenting with Styrofoam cups taped to his boots, and that was working well. David said the solution was simple--wear shoes with leather soles (he wore loafers). I told him all I had were my dress wing tips. "So what," he asked. I wore them, and they were great. I've been wearing wing tips every race since, and they have become a tradition and a part of NASCAR lore. I might say I got a hot tip from David.