Bristol: Sterling Marlin race report

Silver Bullet soars to front in Food City 500. BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 23, 2003) --- It took coming home to Tennessee for Sterling Marlin to score his best finish of the season so far. Marlin put his Coors Light Dodge back in the top-10 this ...

Silver Bullet soars to front in Food City 500.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 23, 2003) --- It took coming home to Tennessee for Sterling Marlin to score his best finish of the season so far. Marlin put his Coors Light Dodge back in the top-10 this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, finishing sixth in the Food City 500.

Marlin started his Coors Light Dodge in 16th place. He stayed consistent and steady throughout the race but started to make a tear just after the halfway point. After a caution on lap 256, Marlin restarted in 16th position. He moved up through the field from 16th position to third place by lap 372.

While the rest of the field completed green flag pit stops, Marlin and the Coors Light team stayed out as long as possible in order to stay on the lead lap and have the rest of the field go a lap down. The strategy worked as a caution came out late on lap 398, leaving only six cars on the lead lap. From this point on, the Coors Light team was pretty much guaranteed at least a sixth place finish.

During the last 100 laps of the race, Marlin was looking for a long green flag run but typical caution-filled Bristol wouldn't allow it. The Coors Light Dodge became tight and Marlin was unable to gain any positions. The team finished in sixth place; their second top-10 of the season. Marlin currently sits 22nd in championship point standings.

"We had some good pit stops and some good calls in the pits today," Marlin said after the race. "We had a good car on the long run. We just didn't have enough laps at the end. I wish we had ended up in the top-five, but we managed to stay on the lead lap and hopefully this sixth-place finish will give us a little momentum going into Texas."

"We came in (to pit) and gambled that it would go green and it did," crew chief Lee McCall said. "It's crazy about this place. You don't know when to pit and when not to pit. It almost seems like you want to do the opposite of what the leaders do. We had some great pit calls today, and the guys made some great pit stops. Sterling drove his butt off all day. With all the lapped cars on the inside and us on the outside, and the lapped cars were so good, it was hard to get by 'em. This is great for this team. We've had a little rocky start here. This will be great momentum not only for the team but also for Sterling."

Kurt Busch was the race winner; this was his second consecutive Food City 500 win.

The Coors Light team heads to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the Samsung/Radio Shack 400. The race will be broadcast live on FOX television and PRN radio on Sunday, March 30.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch