Daytona 500: Sterling Marlin race report

Marlin Escapes Accidents; Finishes 17th at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2007)-- Sterling Marlin narrowly escaped several multi-car accidents in Sunday's Daytona 500 and was headed for a top-10 finish before being...

Marlin Escapes Accidents; Finishes 17th at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2007)-- Sterling Marlin narrowly escaped several multi-car accidents in Sunday's Daytona 500 and was headed for a top-10 finish before being collected in a last-lap incident and wrecking across the finish line in 17th place.

Due to the complicated qualifying format for NASCAR's biggest race, Marlin started the 202-lap event at Daytona International Speedway from the 40th position, forcing him to drive through many accidents to get to the front.

"We had a heck of a day," said the two time Daytona 500 champion. "I have to give a lot of credit to my spotter (T.J. Majors) because he did an incredible job saving me from every single accident-- and there were some big ones."

The race, which ended in overtime with a green-white-checkered restart, saw six cautions for 26 laps with only 27 cars ending on the lead lap. The final caution, on lap 202, is ultimately what cost Marlin a top-10 finish.

"We narrowly escaped a lot of pileups today, including the last one," offered the veteran driver. "I was running 10th and looking down the frontstretch at the checkered flag, thinking I was clear of the wreck, when the 25 car (Casey Mears) hit the wall and shot back down the track into us."

Marlin added, "There was nothing we could do. I just took my foot off the brake and slid across the finish line."

Marlin's yellow and green Chevy came to a stop in the infield grass where Marlin climbed out and walked to the garage.

"It's disappointing because we had a top-10 car and were so close to a top-10 finish," said Marlin. "Slugger (crew chief Slugger Labbe) did a great job calling the race, we had some speedy pit stops, and again, the spotter did an awesome job. For such a wild race, I guess I'll take a top-20 finish and hope to better it next week in California."

Regarding his Ginn Racing teammate Mark Martin finishing a close second to winner Kevin Harvick, Marlin said, "It was disappointing not to see Mark win the race. I was pulling for him. He had a great car and if anyone deserved to win this race, it was Mark."

The next stop on the Nextel Cup circuit will be California Speedway on Feb. 25. The Auto Club 500 will be broadcast live on FOX beginning with a pre-race show at 3 p.m. ET.

-credit: ginn racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Mark Martin