Marlin's Dodge Dances to Victory Lane at Darlington; Musgrave captures truck race, Alderman prevails in NHRA DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 17, 2002) - Sterling Marlin, a 44-year-old Tennessee native, picked up his second victory of the season Sunday...
Marlin's Dodge Dances to Victory Lane at Darlington;
Musgrave captures truck race, Alderman prevails in NHRA
DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 17, 2002) - Sterling Marlin, a 44-year-old Tennessee native, picked up his second victory of the season Sunday by scoring a 3.581-second victory over Elliott Sadler in the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
Marlin's No. 40 Coors Light Intrepid Dodge R/T took the lead on lap 251 and held it the final 43 laps at the historic 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. Marlin scored his 10th career victory in 544 starts and his second win in the past three races. Marlin is the only driver who has five top 10 finishes in 2002, and he has eight straight top 10s dating back to the final three races of 2001.
The triumph boosted Marlin's lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings to 99 points over rookie Ryan Newman, who finished fifth Sunday. It was the third victory of the season for Dodge and gave Dodge a 36-31 lead over Ford in the season-long manufacturers standings. Pontiac is third with 23 points, and Chevrolet follows with 20 points.
In other St. Patrick's Day Weekend racing action, Ted Musgrave and Robert Pressley led a 1-2 Dodge Ram sweep in the Craftsman Anniversary 200 at Darlington. Mopar power carried Darrell Alderman to his third Pro Stock title in the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., and Mark Kinser drove his Mopar-powered Maxim to three third-place finishes in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series this weekend.
NASCAR Winston Cup Series
Marlin finished third in the 2001 standings, his first year behind the wheel of the Dodge Intrepid R/T out of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates stables. In addition to his eight straight top 10s, Marlin also has two victories and three runner-up finishes during that stretch. In his past 15 starts (10 in 2001 and five in 2002), Marlin has three wins, eight top fives and 12 top 10s.
Starting at the rear of the field on Sunday, because the team decided to change engines after Saturday's Happy Hour practice, Marlin quickly worked his way to the front. He took the lead for the first time on lap 195 and ended up leading three times for 57 laps.
A multi-car wreck on lap 227 of 293, eliminated Dodge drivers Jimmy Spencer and Ward Burton. Spencer and Burton had run in the top five most of the day, but were relegated back to 37th and 31st, respectively.
Bill Elliott scored the other top 10 for Dodge at Darlington with a 10th-place performance.
Other Dodge finishes:
* Casey Atwood, No. 7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge Intrepid R/T, 26th
* John Andretti, No. 43 Cheerios Dodge Intrepid R/T, 22nd
* Hut Stricklin, No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T, 32nd
* Buckshot Jones, No. 44 Georgia Pacific Dodge Intrepid R/T, 19th
* Jeremy Mayfield, No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T, 16th
* Kyle Petty, No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T, 14th
* Shawna Robinson, No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge Intrepid R/T, 42nd
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Ted Musgrave's No. 1 Mopar Performance Parts Dodge Ram passed Robert Pressley's No. 18 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge Ram on lap 135 and held it the rest of the way to capture his first victory of the season and second straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win for Dodge. Pressley won the series opener at Daytona, and Musgrave finished second. Consequently, Musgrave and Pressley share the series points lead after the first two events with 360 points each.
Jason Leffler, driver of the No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Racing Dodge Ram, won the pole and ran in the top five most of the race before spinning out and ending up 30th in the 36-truck field. Brian Rose, driver of the No. 4 Sunclear Energy Team Dodge Ram, finished eighth in his first trip to Darlington and was the highest finishing rookie. He drove the same truck that owner Bobby Hamilton drove to victory in last season's Craftsman Anniversary 200 at Darlington. Rose ranks third in the series standings, 43 points behind the co-leaders.
Other Dodge finishes:
* Lance Hooper, No. 5 Diamond Cut Jeans/Blair.com Dodge Ram, 16th
* Carlos Contreras, No. 43 Hot Wheels Dodge Ram, 17th
* Jerry Hill, No. 18 RDS Racing Engines Dodge Ram, 18th
* Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Ram, 20th
* Michael Dokken, No. 51 OOIDA Dodge Ram, 22nd
* Tom Powers, No. 55 5-Star Lighting & Recreation Dodge Ram, 27th
* Bill Lester, No. 8 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram, 28th
Three-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman, a Morehead, Ky., resident, won his 28th NHRA National event title by defeating Jeg Coughlin, Jr., in the finals of the 33rd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.
Alderman, who grabbed his first national event since 1997 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, Pa., matched reaction times with Coughlin, but his Hemi-powered Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T pulled away through the lights with a 6.927-second elapsed time at 200.77 mph. Coughlin clocked a 6.940-second lap at 200.14 mph. It was Alderman's third victory (1989, 1995, 2002) at this historic quarter mile.
"It's been way too long," said the 52-year-old Alderman. "It proves that an old man can still win one of these things. This is the most competitive field that I've seen since I've been racing in NHRA Pro Stock. I certainly couldn't have done it without the help of all the Mopar engineers and the guys from Nickens Brothers Racing. They work around the clock trying to build horsepower for these cars. And I can't say enough for my crew chief Rickie Smith and how he's been able to keep the car going up and down the track. It was hooked up, and the track was slick, and he really ought to be standing here besides me right now."
Alderman made his final-round drive by defeating Steve Schmidt in the first, Tom Hammonds in the second and Warren Johnson in the third. Alderman's victory over Johnson was on a holeshot, as Alderman posted a 6.902-second lap at 201.25 mph to Johnson's 6.899-second elapsed time at 201.37.
Dean Skuza and the Mopar Parts Dodge Stratus R/T made it the second round before falling to Johnny Gray. Despite a quicker elapsed time (5.092-5.105), Skuza lost to Gray on a holeshot. Gray recorded a 5.105-second pass at 304.80 mph.
Skuza advanced to the second round by defeating defending race champion John Force in round one. The Brecksville, Ohio resident logged a 5.045-second elapsed time at 301.60 mph, as Force posted a 5.090-second pass at 294.82 mph.
Pennzoil World of Outlaws
Mark Kinser scored three third-place finishes and holds third place in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws point standings after six events.
Kinser finished third in the 25-lap preliminary on Friday night at Devils Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas. He backed that up with a third-place finish at the same track on Saturday night in the A-feature of the 29th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals.
The consistent Kinser then finished third Sunday night in the 35-lap A feature at State Fair Speedway in Oklahoma City. He ranks third in the series standings, 11 points behind leader Steve Kinser.