Marlin's favorite falls early in Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 16, 2003) --- Sterling Marlin brought his favorite Coors Light Dodge to Darlington - chassis ...
Marlin's favorite falls early in Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.
DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 16, 2003) --- Sterling Marlin brought his favorite Coors Light Dodge to Darlington - chassis #203. It is the same car that won three races last season including the 2002 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Unfortunately, Marlin's favorite became damaged goods early at Darlington Raceway on Sunday.
The day started off well with Marlin starting in eighth position. He moved into the top-five by the first caution on lap 6 and the Coors Light pit crew hit a 13.878-second pit stop for their first stop of the day. Trouble came on lap 22. Jimmie Johnson and Marlin shared sheet metal and Marlin found the wall. The left front tire on the Coors Light Dodge blew creating more trouble for Marlin and a few others in the field.
Marlin was forced to bring his Coors Light Dodge in the garage for repairs. The Coors Light team made the following repairs to the car: left rear trailing arm, right front brake rotor, radiator, and beat the car body out.
'We went down in turn three and four and Jimmie (Johnson) got a run on me," Marlin said while the repairs were made on his car. "It looks like Jimmie got loose; I was on the outside. When he got loose we hung bumpers and it turned us both into the fence."
Marlin went back out on lap 70 but within 10 laps he had to bring the Coors Light Dodge back into the garage because of steering problems. The right front lower control arm was bent but because of its location, the crew could not see it during the first repairs.
Marlin returned to the race on lap 104, 71 laps down in 40th position. He had to visit the garage one more time. After returning to the race and riding around the track for a while, the Coors Light team could not gain any more positions so they pulled out early and packed up to go home.
The Coors Light Dodge was awarded with a 39th place finish in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Marlin currently sits in 24th place in NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship points.
Ricky Craven was the eventual race winner, beating Kurt Busch to the finish line by .002 seconds.
The Coors Light team heads to Tennessee next weekend - Marlin's home state. The Food City 500 at the 0.533-mile short track will be broadcast live on FOX television and PRN radio on Sunday, March 23.