NASCAR Media Conference
October 21, 2008
JOSH HAMILTON: Good afternoon, everybody and we will could come today's NASCAR CAM VIDEO teleconference in advance of Sunday's event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Pep Boys Auto 500, race No. 7 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Today we are joined by two special guests. Only up we'll have Marc Davis, who finished fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Series East and will be attempting to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on Saturday at Memphis Motorsports Park in the No. 18 DLP HDTV Toyota. After Marc at approximately 2:00 PM we'll be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Marc is joining us from the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, while Kevin will be at Richard Childress Racing headquarters in Welcome, North Carolina.
Marc, you finished 16th in your national series debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series earlier this season; how did this race help prepare you for this weekend?
MARC DAVIS: It was definitely a great opportunity for us and a lot better race the way we finished off. We ran around 10, 11, 12 the whole race and it was a pretty good run for us and I'm really excited about the opportunity with DLP and Joe Gibbs Racing for our Memphis Nationwide debut.
Q. You already have a NASCAR start under your belt, is there a sense of confidence since this is not truly a big debut for you, but also with as good as the 18 car is, do you have a lot of confidence going into this race at Memphis?
MARC DAVIS: Yeah definitely, Joe Gibbs Racing organization had an awesome year this year, and especially the 18, as well. So I'm looking forward to being in the DLP car this weekend and go out there and perform my best and go out there and stay out of trouble and get way up front.
Q. Just kind of curious, you've actually I think been with Gibbs racing for a while through their development program. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Gibbs Racing and what they have meant to your career so far?
MARC DAVIS: Yeah, definitely, just everyone over here at Joe Gibbs Racing is like a huge family. This is my third year under contract with them. I started back in 2006 racing late models and two years in the Camper World Series, and now a good opportunity to make our Nationwide debut. So I'm really excited for these guys and looking forward to it.
Q. Also, I think you've been doing this for a while, but yet you are still so young at the same time. Talk about what it was like kind of growing up as a kid, racing, and just not what your average kid when they were in school, and I think you even might have switched high schools so that racing would be a little more convenient for you. Can you just talk about what it was like growing up and racing at the same time?
MARC DAVIS: Well, I started racing when I was six years old, and I've been in this sport for 12 years now and started out having fun with my dad racing in midget cars and did well, and it was all about having fun. That's what it's all about right now.
So moved up to the series and ended up moving to North Carolina. I'm from Maryland originally, so it was a big change to come up from Maryland and come down here, but I knew a lot of people already and so it was just one of those things that you got to do to commit to it.
Q. And also, Joe Gibbs obviously has a great stable of drivers and things. What kind of advice have you got maybe from some of the other Job Gibbs drivers, and you're obviously going to be filling the seat for Joey Logano, who has set things on fire since he started this year.
MARC DAVIS: It's really great to have such great teammates here. It's good to be able to bounce ideas off of each other. Joey Logano and I, we grew up together racing all the way back in core midget cars, and so it's good to have a good teammate like that to kind of relate to myself with.
Q. Obviously this is a massively huge opportunity for to you get a top-tier team like this. How did the whole deal originally come about? Did Joe or JD contact you and did you believe it was them on the other line?
MARC DAVIS: Yeah, definitely, we knew we were going to get a whole season in the Camper World Series again and hopefully up for a championship, and we fell short of that this year. And we had been talking about doing some Nationwide racing earlier in the season and just came up that Memphis happened to be the right time for us. And got that deal put together and really excited about that and go out there and have some fun and perform.
JOSH HAMILTON: You finished fifth in the Camping World Series East this year, your second full year in the series; how do you think that driving those cars the past two years has prepared to you drive in the Nationwide Series this weekend?
MARC DAVIS: It's definitely a great series to be in. The whole Camping World Series has definitely changed from what it used to be, and even between the last two years, definitely the competition level has gotten a lot better between last year and this year. There's a lot more Cup-affiliate teams in the series and a lot more development drivers.
So it's definitely a good series to step up to and get out with the stock cars and having the spec motor (ph), it's definitely a good motor and really reliable. So go out there and we get to run on some of the big tracks; ran good at Phoenix and Loudon and Iowa and Dover, as well. It's definitely a good developmental series and looking forward to some more drivers coming out of it.
Q. What do you think will be the steepest part of the learning curve as you move up to this level?
MARC DAVIS: Well, with the whole Nationwide Series, the big thing is probably just going to be getting used to the longer races. We have run some longer races in the past and just try and get the whole strategy deal worked out. And there's more pit strategy involved in the Nationwide races and the Cup races than there in the Truck Series or Camper World Series like I'm used to. That's going to be a learning curve, but I'm on a good team and good sponsors and good teammates, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. What do you think that you've learned along the way already that's going to adapt the best when you start to race with some of the top racers in the league?
MARC DAVIS: Well, at Joe Gibbs Racing, they have the best racehorses, and the people around me, so I feel like I'm surrounded by some of the best people in the sport. And that's definitely something to learn from, so I'm looking forward to it, and all of these guys are helping me get to the point right now, and still a long way to go but it's definitely getting closer.
Q. We talked to Joey yesterday, and he said that since he's going to be coming back from Atlanta in the first lap, he's going to see the first lap of the face -- he's been doing a lot of practice on the video games. Have you been doing that sort of same kind of preparation, or are just going to come straight in and hit the practices really hard once you get to Memphis?
MARC DAVIS: Definitely. We use them a little bit to get used to the racetrack. It's not exact details but gives you a good game plan to go to the race track. You know what to expect somewhat. So done that and watched some of the Memphis tapes from the previous years and go out there and get some practice going. So I think we'll be pretty good and definitely, the 22 will probably use us a little bit to bounce ideas off of since Joey won't be in the car for practice.
Q. Just kind of curious, have you sat down yet and really looked at the rest of the year and then looked on to next year and kind of come up with some kind of game plan or have you got your own personal goals ahead to the future? And I guess Joe Gibbs Racing, have they handed you some goals of what they would like to see you achieve in the future?
MARC DAVIS: Well, we have been sitting down the last week or two and trying to -- helping me put some goals together and get some game plans going since the off-season is coming up pretty soon here. Looking at some more races for the end of the season. Not sure what all going to happen exactly. We are looking at some deals next year being outsourced from Joe Gibbs Racing to some of our tier teams (indiscernible). So nothing is laid out in stone yet, but it's looking that way right now.
JOSH HAMILTON: Marc, thanks a lot for your time today, thanks for joining us, and good luck this weekend attempting your first Nationwide Series race.
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