Multi-Car Accident Delivers Sterling Marlin a 35th Place Finish in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nev. (March 13, 2005) --- Trouble on the track on lap 85 forced the Coors Light Dodge behind the wall for 45 laps and ultimately a 35th place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400.
The Coors Light Dodge started the sunny Las Vegas day out in the 25th spot and was able to gain three spots when the caution came out on lap 12 for the first multi-car accident. Marlin reported that the car was tight on exit so the Coors Light crew made a four tire, fuel and air pressure adjustment stop before sending the car back on the track in the 23rd spot.
When racing resumed Marlin quickly reported that the car was too tight to drive as he slipped back on the track to the 30th spot. The Coors Light Dodge got the break they needed on lap 58 as the leader Greg Biffle was quickly approaching in Marlin's mirror to put him a lap down, the yellow flag waved. Marlin was in the 29th position and the last car on the lead lap.
In order to gain the five bonus points for leading a lap, the Coors Light Dodge stayed out on the track and led lap 61. Marlin then brought the car down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure and wedge adjustment to free the car up.
Marlin restarted in the 29th spot but when the yellow flag flew for the third time on lap 64 Marlin reported that the chassis was still tight. The Coors Light crew had a lightning fast four tire, fuel, rubber and trackbar adjustment stop and resumed racing from the 28th position.
The Silver Bullet had made its way up to 26th when trouble struck on lap 85. As the cars were coming around turn four to cross the start/finish line, the No. 11 car started a chain of events that would catch two other cars including the Coors Light Dodge. Marlin brought the car back down pit road where the crew assessed that the radiator needed to be replaced. Marlin drove the car into the garage and the Coors Light crew quickly went to work.
After the Coors Light crew replaced the radiator and fixed the front end damage Marlin and the car went back out on the track in the 37th position on lap 129, 45 laps down to the leader. Marlin spent the remaining 138 laps of the race making the necessary adjustments to gain two spots and bring home a 35th-place finish.
"I am okay but the car isn't," Marlin said. "I don't know what the No. 11 driver was thinking. He just stopped on the track and didn't give a hand signal or anything. I guess he was trying to pit, but he's got to let the cars behind him know what he is doing. He stopped and the No. 49 got into him and then I got into the No. 49. There just wasn't anywhere to go. The Coors Light crew did a great job of replacing the radiator and fixing the damage in enough time to get me back out on the track. This just isn't the way it's supposed to be."
Marlin dropped to 17th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points, 202 points out of the top spot. Ganassi teammates Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray finished seventh and 15th respectively.
The Coors Light team will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the Golden Corral 500. The race will be broadcast live on Fox television and PRN radio at 1:15 p.m. EST.