Dave Marcis is the only driver to drive in the Daytona 500 in every decade for the past 5 decades. He also has the record for competing in the most Daytona 500s and the most laps run there.
Dave Marcis was born on March 1, 1941) in Wausau, Wisconsin. Dave was a driver on the NASCAR Winston Cup (now known as the NASCAR Nextel Cup) circuit from 1968 until 2002. Marcis won five times over this tenure, twice at Richmond, including his final win in 1982. Dave was most famous for two things: racing for his own team and wearing wingtip shoes while racing to absorb the heat in the car. He made the Daytona 500 every year from 1968 until 1999. The 2002 Daytona 500 was the last time Marcis raced in NASCAR.
The career of Dave Marcis is notable in the history of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. While Marcis is best known as the last of the non-factory supported independent owner drivers, he is also known as one of the top drivers of the 1970s. During his career Marcis drove for series championship car owners in Nord Krauskopf and Rod Osterlund. Marcis is second only to Richard Petty in all time starts at 883. Dave often owned/drove the #71 car. Dave finished 8 times in the Top 10 season long driver's points.
Marcis finished as high as second in the season standing in 1975 driving Nord Krauskopf's K @ K Dodge Charger in the first year for NASCAR's modern standard of calculating points. Despite driving for some of the top teams of the day Marcis opted field his own teams following his sudden departure from Osterland Racing after the 1978 season. Marcis was replaced by seven time champion Dale Earnhardt, who would begin his rookie campaign the following year. Former crew Harry Hyde once said of Marcis' "he had the talent to be a champion, if only he weren't so stubborn."
Dave Marcis in the #71 car at Daytona in 1980, courtesy of the Florida Photographic CollectionMarcis experienced moderate success as an owner driver during the 1980s. The highlight of the Marcis' career as an owner driver was winning at the old Richmond Fairgrounds in 1982. The race is often remembered for an odd finish which involved a miscalculation on pit road by the Petty Racing team during a rain delay which, handed the win to Marcis. From that point Marcis team gradually became less competitive as more well funded teams found their way into the series. Marcis was occasionally known to moonlight for other car owner such as Larry Hedrick (later of Hedrick Motorsports). Often Marcis would still field his own car, usually with Jim Sauter behind the wheel.
During the twilight of his career Marcis landed the first major internet sponsor in Winston Cup, Prodigy Internet. The internet company would sponsor Marcis as an associate and primary sponsor between 1994 and 1996. Marcis was frequently the test driver for the Richard Childress GM Goodwrench #3 of his friend Dale Earnhardt during the prime of his career. This agreement with Childress was made by Marcis to help fund his own race team, but often backfired due the fact that he rarely had the time to test his own equipment. Marcis finished out his career in the 2002 Daytona 500, a race he has competed in more than any other driver in history. Dave currently is a test driver for the IROC mainly and the Nextel Cup series on occasion and has been since his retirement from racing competition in early 2002 and currently resides with his wife in the Asheville,NC area.
A couple of interesting notes to Marcis' career:
- He holds a Darlington record club mark for speed in an AMC.
- He still holds the Nextel Cup track record for qualifying a Hickory Motor Speedway.
- Marcis is currently a test driver for the International Race of Champions IROC series (with Sauter and Dick Trickle).
- Marcis' race shop has been converted into a hotrod shop that builds rods with Nextel Cup based engines.
- Dave was usually photographed wearing a Goodyear hat. He also wore wingtip shoes during races.
- Friend and fellow racer Dale Earnhardt sponsored Marcis's car with his car dealership Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet in 1994.