Chicagoland: Sterling Marlin preview

MARLIN'S GOAL: TURN SEASON AROUND JOLIET, Ill. (July 5, 2006)--Sterling Marlin hasone main goal in mind as he approaches the halfway point of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit: turn the season around. Marlin acknowledges the first half of the year...

MARLIN'S GOAL: TURN SEASON AROUND

JOLIET, Ill. (July 5, 2006)--Sterling Marlin hasone main goal in mind as he approaches the halfway point of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit: turn the season around.

Marlin acknowledges the first half of the year hasn't worked out the way he expected, but also knows turning the season around is an attainable goal and believes his MB2 Motorsports team has what it takes to get it done.

"We've had some tough times this year," said Marlin, who will start his 693rd Cup event when he takes Sunday's green flag. "But that's part of racing--there are highs and lows. It's persevering and overcoming those obstacles that really show what kind of team you are and I have confidence that this group of guys has what it takes."

Sunday's USG SHEETROCK 400 at Chicagoland Speedway marks the 18th event of the 36-race NEXTEL Cup schedule.In Marlin's five starts at the 1.5-mile oval, he's recorded two top-10 starts and two top-10 finishes. He believes Chicagoland is as good a place as any to score a solid finish.

"I've had good runs every time I've been to Chicago," said Marlin. "I think the only time I had a real bad finish there was when we lost an engine. So I'm heading into this weekend pretty confident we can grab a good result in our Waste Management Chevrolet. Once we do that, we'll get some momentum going and maybe it will start pushing us in the right direction."

Marlin's woes began this year when a late-race accident took him out of contention for a third Daytona 500 victory. They continued with things like faulty engines, early race accidents and tough-handling race cars.

"We've had some adversity to overcome for sure," offered Marlin. "There were a couple of races that I didn't even get to Lap 10 before being swept up in a wreck--at Sonoma it was Lap 1. Then we lost an engine on Lap 18 in Pocono. We've had some bad breaks."

If Marlin's confidence is any indication of the direction the Waste Management team is heading, they should be in good shape.

"I know we've got a solid group of guys here who can get the job done," said Marlin. "We've just got to figure things out--and we will. This was a new team this season and we've had a learning curve, but things will come together for us. Hopefully the second half of the season is the exact opposite of the first."

-mb2

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin