Atlanta II: Sterling Marlin race report

Marlin battles helmet and handling problems at Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga. (October 27, 2003) --- When the rains came down on Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Sterling Marlin was running in the 22nd position after starting the race 40th. Marlin ...

Marlin battles helmet and handling problems at Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga. (October 27, 2003) --- When the rains came down on Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Sterling Marlin was running in the 22nd position after starting the race 40th. Marlin continued his run through the field when the race was resumed on Monday, finishing the race Atlanta Motor Speedway in the 16th spot.

After taking a provisional and starting in the 40th spot, Marlin was able to work his way up to 22nd but the rains came and forced the race to be red flagged on lap 38. Track officials attempted to dry the track and get the race restarted but the rain continued off and on all day and the race had to be postponed until Monday morning.

Monday held some challenges for the Coors Light team though, first Marlin was caught up in the caution on the first lap of the restart and sustained damage to the front of the car. The team fixed the damage and the Coors Light Dodge was able to continue the race.

Then, Marlin reported that his radio was not working and that he was unable to hear his crew chief Lee McCall. The Coors Light crew ran and got another helmet and signaled Marlin in to the pits by waving the signboard during the caution on lap 102. On lap 104, Marlin came in and during his routine pit stop the crew gave him the new helmet. While driving around the track during the caution laps, he changed his helmet during the next two laps. When he returned to the pits, the crew took out the bad helmet and checked the radio to make sure it was hooked up properly.

Following the helmet change, Marlin was running in the top-15 and was able to stay there until the car got loose on lap 181. Marlin battled the handling of the car for the rest of the day and was able to hang on for a 16th place finish.

"We had to take a provisional for the race but we knew we could move up through the field," Marlin said. "We started moving up through the field when it started raining yesterday. Today, we got caught in that first caution on the restart and got some damage to the nose of the car. I think we had a top-10 car but the handling went bad halfway through the race and we never got it back."

Marlin dropped two spots to 21st position in the Winston Cup championship points. Ganassi teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears finished 15th and 28th respectively.

The Coors Light team races at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend. The race will be broadcast live on NBC television and MRN radio on Sunday, November 2nd at 3:00 pm EST.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray