Today’s Washington Post has a very interesting article about 18 year old race car driver Marc Davis.
The Silver Spring, Maryland native is racing in the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway tonight. This will be Marc’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series start. Marc has the number 36 on the side of his Toyota as a tribute to the late race car driver Wendell Scott. Richard Pryor starred in the film Greased Lightning, which was loosely based on Wendell Scott’s biography.
According to Marc:
It’s not a random number, the “36” that’s plastered on the door of the black Toyota Marc Davis intends to race Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
It was chosen to represent the 36 years since an African American driver competed in NASCAR’s top ranks in a car he owned himself.
That driver was Wendell Scott of Danville, Va., who died of cancer in December 1990, largely forgotten by stock-car racing after a career that left him with a lone victory (in 495 starts) and scarcely more fame and riches than he had when he started.
Marc was a developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing until last year.
A few years ago, it seemed Davis would be spared that hard road. At 15 he was signed as a developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing and given the opportunity to progress through the ranks in quality racecars built and serviced by a first-rate crew.
Then came the economic collapse. With sponsorship money drying up, the Gibbs team couldn’t find a corporate backer to bankroll Davis’s next career move, the step up to NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.
So rather than look for a job driving for a lesser team, Davis and his father decided to start their own, a bold move in robust economic times and surely a risk amid the recession.
Marc’s race tonight will be his third race this season. He’s sponsored by the Word Network and he receives financial help from Howard University owned radio station WHUR.
According to this news item:
Practice for the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway began at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 21st. Qualifying is set for 3:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 23rd. ESPN2 and The Performance Racing Network (PRN) will provide live television and radio coverage of the 200-lap, 300-mile race beginning at 7 p.m. ET.