News & Politics

Spotlight: Speed Racer

At the age of 17, Marc Davis is off to a fast start in the world of NASCAR.

Marc Davis is a fairly typical 17-year-old—except for sometimes driving 150 miles an hour. The Silver Spring native is a budding star in NASCAR.

Even as a toddler, Davis loved speed. He started racing BMX bicycles at age six for fun, moved to Quarter Midget cars at eight, then to junior dragsters in the National Hot Rod Association. By age 13, he was traveling to Florida many weekends to race, perseverance that was rewarded with two national championships.

“That was one of those once-in-a-lifetime seasons,” he says in his rapid-fire speech. Driving isn’t the only thing he does fast.

Davis attended James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring. His mother is an administrator with the Prince George’s County public schools. After his father retired as an NBC News cameraman in 2005, father and son moved to Mooresville, North Carolina, the epicenter of NASCAR. Davis’s skills quickly earned him a six-year contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and a top-ten finish among more than 70 drivers in last year’s NASCAR development series for up-and-comers.

Only seven African-Americans have competed in the top-tier NASCAR Cup series in the 60 years since the sport was founded. When Davis turns the requisite age of 18 in June, he hopes to become the eighth.

Davis says he never saw race as an impediment: “Most of the problems I encounter come from drivers who don’t like getting beat by some 17-year-old kid.”