BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 24, 2002) -- Sterling Marlin drove the Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T to a top-20 finish in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is the first time in five races that Marlin has finished outside of the top-10.
BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 24, 2002) -- Sterling Marlin drove the Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T to a top-20 finish in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is the first time in five races that Marlin has finished outside of the top-10. Marlin remains the leader in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship points standings; he leads Matt Kenseth by 99 points.
The Coors Light Dodge started the Food City 500 in 16th position but Marlin quickly moved into the top-10 by lap 55. During the first 100 laps of the 500-lap event, Marlin radioed in to crew chief Lee McCall explaining that the car was very loose and sliding all over the place. During pit stops throughout the day, the Coors Light crew made tire pressure and wedge adjustments to tighten his car.
On lap 131, Marlin attempted to pass the No. 10 of Johnny Benson on the inside, but Benson came down on the Coors Light Dodge and Marlin spun him out. There was no major damage to the No. 40 Coors Light car, therefore the team did not pit during the caution period.
Marlin stayed in the top-20 but two slow pit stops during laps 160 and 282 kept him busy catching the leaders. On lap 308, Marlin attempted to pass Mark Martin but the two got together and Marlin cut a right rear tire. The Coors Light Dodge was forced to make a green-flag pit stop for right side tires. Marlin lost two laps in the process and fell back to 29th position. For the remainder of the race, Marlin worked to move up as much as possible. He eventually finished in 19th place; one lap down to the leader.
"We've got to fell very good about both of our Dodges today," Marlin said. "Both of them were very competitive. Both were up front all day. We were up at the front of the pack even though we were a lap down at the end. Me and Mark Martin got together when I was passing him, and that cut down a right rear tire. We lost two laps and got one back. I thought we might could get the other one back, but we never did. I think if we could have got it back, we could have been up there battling Jimmy (Spencer) for the win. It was a great day for the Target guys, and it could have been worse for us. Any time you can come out of Bristol in one piece, you've got to feel good about it. You're going to have some cut tires, so hopefully we've got that behind us now."
Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Light team is the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2002.