Charlotte II: Sterling Marlin race report

Steady Performance Gives Marlin 11th-Place Finish CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2006)-- Sterling Marlin brought home an 11th-place finish in Saturday night's NEXTEL Cup event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "An 11th-place finish feels good," said...

Steady Performance Gives Marlin 11th-Place Finish

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 14, 2006)-- Sterling Marlin brought home an 11th-place finish in Saturday night's NEXTEL Cup event at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"An 11th-place finish feels good," said Marlin, who started Sunday's event 13th. "It's great to be behind the wheel of a racecar that drove as well as the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevy did tonight. Slugger (crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe) made great calls on the pit box to get us some track position and the car drove so well we were able to stay there."

In a caution-filled 500-mile, 334-lap event, the No. 14 team only changed tires during five pit stops; the rest were for gas only.

"We took some chances on pit road tonight and they paid off," said Labbe. "I'm real proud of this team. They've been working their tails off trying to make this car better and better each week. Sterling drove as hard as he could tonight and the guys stayed on top of it in the pits. We've improved a ton over the last month and I think it's just going to keep getting better."

The one hiccup for the No. 14 team was when the cars of Mark Martin and J.J. Yeley tangled in Turn 4 during a round of green-flag pit stops. Marlin, along with most of the field, had already pitted, which put the team a lap down when the yellow flag waved.

"If that caution hadn't come out we would've been in even better shape," explained Marlin. "Unfortunately we had to hang in there until we could get the Lucky Dog award and by then we didn't have enough time to get past all of the lapped cars to pick up some spots."

"But it's still a great result," Marlin continued. "Slugger's come on board and really gotten some things clicking. It felt great to run up front tonight and I'm excited about the rest of the season."

Labbe added, "It's a lot more fun to run up front and have a car that you can work with. Our goal has been to be competitive each and every week and we're making good strides toward that."

The NEXTEL Cup Series will visit Martinsville Speedway, Sunday (Oct. 22) for the Subway 500. The event will be broadcast live on Sunday (Oct. 22) on NBC beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

-credit: mb2m

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Series NASCAR-CUP