Rough debut for owner-driver Marc Davis

March, 21, 2009
A rough welcome to Bristol Motor Speedway left 18-year-old Marc Davis short of his goal of a top-20 finish Saturday in his debut as the first African-American owner-driver in a major NASCAR race since Wendell Scott retired in 1973.

But, considering the circumstances, "I'm happy with it," Davis said of his 27th-place finish in the Scotts Lawn Builder 300. He had run as high as 19th before being spun out by Burney Lamar just past the halfway point of the Nationwide race.

The spin took Davis into the wall backward, damaging the rear bodywork and the spoiler on his Toyota and dropping him back as far as 33rd.

"We had a really good run going," Davis said. "I believe it was the 32 car that spun me out, and that took us back a step. We had to repass the cars we'd already passed several times."

If not for the wreck, "I thought we could have been in the 20th- to 15th-place area," Davis said. "Even with the damage, the car was still fast."

Davis and his father, Harry Davis, decided to form their own Nationwide team after Joe Gibbs Racing, for which Marc had been a developmental driver, failed to find sponsorship for a Nationwide ride for him this season.

The Davises are running on about $75,000 per race in sponsorship, from Howard University radio station WHUR and The Word Network, an urban religious TV channel. Top Nationwide cars run on about $200,000 per race.

Marc Davis, a go-or-go-home driver, qualified 28th among 52 cars that tried to make the field for Saturday's race. His next try at a Nationwide race is scheduled for May 1 at Richmond, Va.

"We accomplished our first two goals," Harry Davis said. "One was to make the race, and second was to finish the race. We were hoping for a better finish, but the reality is that short-track racing at Bristol is hard on equipment, and it just took its toll.

"But we got in the show and we finished the race, so it was a good day, and we'll live to go on to Richmond."



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