Marlin ready to defend points lead at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 10, 2002) ­ Anyone expecting Winston Cup points leader Sterling Marlin to stumble at Martinsville Speedway this weekend may want to look a little further down the schedule. While Marlin has developed a reputation as a...

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 10, 2002) ­ Anyone expecting Winston Cup points leader Sterling Marlin to stumble at Martinsville Speedway this weekend may want to look a little further down the schedule.

While Marlin has developed a reputation as a super speedway terror, and although he won on two speedways this season, he's no patsy when it comes to short tracks. And that's where Marlin and the rest of the Winston Cup circuit will be this weekend, on the .526-mile oval at Martinsville Speedway.

"I'm probably not a real good qualifier at Martinsville, but I usually race good," said Marlin. "We've got some top fives there and I almost won there about three years ago. It's a good track and they've got some good hot dogs, too."

Marlin has three top-five finishes at Martinsville, ironically, all coming in the Virginia 500. He finished fifth here a year ago and led 20 laps of that race.

"I think we're right there with our short track program," said Marlin. "Last year we got two top-10s at Martinsville and we did well at the other short tracks when we didn't have mechanical problems.

"The short track races are just as important as anything when you're dealing with the points race. There's a 180 points to win it so you've got to treat those races like you treat winning at Vegas or Charlotte or anywhere."

Marlin brings a 70-point lead over Matt Kenseth to Martinsville in the Winston Cup points standings. Marlin has led this late in the season, but he's never had a start as strong as this one.

"We are just taking it one race at a time and trying to be consistent in the top-five," said Marlin. "It's a long season and we've got a long way to go. It's early to start talking about the championship, but we've got a good start out of the gates. We got close last year, but we had some bad luck along the way. We're going to keep working hard and try to stay focused and see what happens."

The action will kick off at Martinsville Speedway with MW Windows Pole Day on Friday, April 12. Qualifying for the Virginia 500 Winston Cup race will begin at 3:05 p.m. on April 12. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will time trial for the Advance Auto Parts 250 at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Tickets for MW Windows Pole Day are $15.

The Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series takes the green flag at 2 p.m. on Saturday April 13.

The Virginia 500 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 14.

Tickets are $40-$70 and are available by calling toll free 877 722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Sterling Marlin