Darlington: Sterling Marlin race report

Marlin Caps Strong Run with Season-Best 13th-Place Finish in Darlington Moves into Top 25 in Driver Points DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 13, 2007)-- A season-best 13th-place finish was the end result to a strong run by Sterling Marlin in ...

Marlin Caps Strong Run with Season-Best 13th-Place Finish in Darlington
Moves into Top 25 in Driver Points

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 13, 2007)-- A season-best 13th-place finish was the end result to a strong run by Sterling Marlin in Sunday's rain-delayed Nextel Cup race at Darlington Raceway.

Marlin, who started the 367-lap event 28th, was confident throughout the weekend that his No. 14 Ginn Racing Chevrolet would be competitive.

"I knew we had a pretty sporty race car," said Marlin, who has two career wins at the 1.366-mile track. "I was sure if we could stay out trouble we'd bring home a good finish."

He was right.

As soon as the 43-car Nextel Cup field took the green flag, Marlin started his journey to the front, climbing to the top 20 by Lap 44 and to the top 15 by Lap 70.

"The Ginn Racing Chevy was good all day," said Marlin, who moved to 25th in the driver point standings. "We never had to make any major changes. It was little snug or a little free here and there, but for the most part, it was great. I could turn when I wanted to -- I had a blast out there."

Marlin ran between the 12th and 14th positions for the majority of the race before moving into the top 10 on Lap 337. When the caution flag waved on Lap 343, Marlin and crew chief Slugger Labbe agreed to stay on the track and not come to the pits for new tires.

"We knew we'd restart with about 20 laps to go and we decided to stay out," said Labbe. "Some other guys behind us came in for tires and they ended up getting by us, but I think we made the right call. It's one of those things-- if you do it, you wish maybe you hadn't and if you don't you wish you did."

"But we'll take 13th," Labbe continued. "We had a top-10 car, but we needed some long runs there at the end and didn't get them. We're getting better and better at the setups on these Car of Tomorrows (COT) and that's important. We'll take the points and keep working on it."

Marlin added, "It was a long race but we did what we needed to do, which was stay out of trouble We picked up a couple of spots in points and can breathe a little easier now. All-in-all, it was a good weekend for us."

-credit: gr

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Series NASCAR-CUP