DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2002)& ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2002)– The Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T driven by Sterling Marlin finished eighth in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Marlin is currently sixth in Winston Cup championship points. He received five bonus points for leading a lap, and five more for leading the most laps during today’s race.
The Coors Light Dodge started the event in 13th position and quickly moved into the top 10 by lap 9. Marlin continued his climb through the top 10 and captured the lead by lap 76. The Coors Light Dodge stayed in the front of the pack for a total of 78 laps, earning Marlin the Gatorade Front Runner Award for leading the most laps of the event.
After dominating most of the second half of the race (laps 80-160), Marlin was eventually passed (on lap 162) and dropped back to eighth position. Following a caution on lap 171, Marlin worked his way up to the second position on lap 186 behind the No. 24 of Jeff Gordon. The No. 24 and No. 40 cars led a five-car breakaway until a caution came out on lap 196.
On the restart, Marlin got into the left rear of the No. 24 car and received damage on the right front fender of the No. 40 car. At the same time, five other cars were involved in an accident behind the Coors Light Dodge.
The race was red flagged on lap 196 due to the accident. During the red flag, Marlin, who raced back to the caution in first position, got out of his car and pulled the fender away from the right front tire. On the restart, the team was penalized and the car was sent to the back of the longest line.
The Coors Light Dodge restarted the four-lap shootout in 12th position after coming into the pits for four fresh tires and to repair the damage. On the restart, Marlin moved up four positions to finish eighth in the Daytona 500.
“ This is the Daytona 500 and you’re going to try to win the thing,” Marlin said. “ I tried to get a run on Jeff (Gordon), and as soon as I got across the line I hooked left and got up in his quarter panel. He was going to try to block, and if I was in his shoes I would try to block too. We were hooked together and hooked bumpers and he spun out and I went on. I got my fender on the tire. We tried to get it pulled off, but NASCAR didn’t like it.”
“ I saw Earnhardt do it at Richmond on time in’ 87. He got out and cleaned off his windshield, so I thought it was OK. I don’t guess it was.”
“ We got a top-10 finish out of it, but I really thought we had a good chance to win it. We started out last season with three top-10 finishes and led the standings after Las Vegas. Maybe we can have a good run next week at Rockingham and lead after two races this year.”
Tony Glover, Team manager, on Marlin getting out of the car during the red flag period: “ After Sterling and Jeff Gordon got together in turn 1, the right front fender on Sterling’s car was rubbing just bad enough that he was probably going to cut down the tire. We couldn’t take that chance and put him and everyone else in danger. We were going to have to come in one way or the other so we had Sterling jump out and check out the damage during the red flag.”
Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Light team is the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway on February 24, 2002.