Good, positive news in NASCAR has been a bit hard to come by these last few months. But, while it has been overshadowed by the glut of gloom and doom, there have been the occasional bright spots.
And if you’re looking for something good to hang your hat on for any length of time, latch onto the news that Marc Davis and his family will not only run six Nationwide races early in the season, but the team will attempt to make its Sprint Cup debut at Infineon Raceway in June.
Davis could well represent a few of NASCAR’s fondest wishes: first of all, the 18-year-old is an African-American. While that fact alone will help NASCAR further put to rest any real connection to its unseemly, racist past, Davis isn’t creation of any diversity program. He comes to the sport on his own terms and with a wealth of talent. He’s in NASCAR because he loves it. That he happens to not be white is just added value. Considerable added value, perhaps, but added nevertheless.
Of lesser but almost equal importance is the fact that Davis and his father are not forcing their way into NASCAR with the help of big dollar-backing and a PR machine to pump them up. Instead, because no sponsorship was forthcoming for 2009, the father and son intend to earn their entry and prove their worth through sheer determination and back-breaking work, running their own single-car team from the ground up.
Davis is the antithesis of and an antidote to recent trends that seem to reward looks, money, and publicity more than raw ability. In other words, he and his father are as close to perfect representations of what NASCAR was built on and embodiments of the values that so many fans seem desperate to see rewarded again in the sport.