Dave Marcis will retire from active driving duty following the 2002 Daytona 500 after an official announcement from Marcis and his Marcis Auto Racing team at Daytona on Thursday.

In a widely expected announcement, 60-year old veteran Dave Marcis has confirmed that next year's curtain raising Daytona 500 will be his last ever NASCAR Winston Cup event as a driver with NASCAR's most enduring figure calling it a day thereafter to concentrate on running his No.71 Chevrolet team from the pit-wall.

As he prepared to qualify for the Pepsi 400 at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, Marcis, Richard Childress and several members of the Marcis Auto Racing/Team Realtree operation laid out their plans for the rest of the 2001 season and beyond with the focal point being Marcis' departure for the Winston Cup scene.

Marcis, whose NWC career began in 1968, will enter five more events after Daytona in 2001 before making his bow at Daytona next February. Marcis has failed to qualify for the last two Daytona 500's after a 30-season streak in NASCAR's classic event and one has the suspicion that if the No.71 Chevrolet doesn't have the outright speed to make it into the 500 field we could well have 44 cars starting the opening race of the 2001 season.

The No.71 will not disappear from the Winston Cup scene after Marcis' departure from the seat and Childress was on hand to announce that the team will become an affiliate of the RCR operation with Childress providing technical assistance in addition to helping the team find more sponsorship and a new driver. Realtree look set to continue with the team but possibly not as a primary sponsor as the company does not bring in the necessary revenue while the new driver is likely to be a prot?g? of Marcis or Childress as the partnership between the richest and poorest end of the Winston Cup garage continues.

Marcis will finish up his restricted 2001 schedule at Chicago, Indianapolis, personal favourites Darlington and Dover and the 2001 season finale in Atlanta but he will not be attending the one place where he has qualified for a Winston Cup event thus far in 2001, Talladega.