Charlotte: Sterling Marlin race report

The Coors Light Dodge Burns the Rear Gear, Finishes 39th in Coca-Cola 600 CONCORD, N.C., (May 30, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin and the Coors Light crew spent 45 laps behind the wall to finish 39th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor ...

The Coors Light Dodge Burns the Rear Gear, Finishes 39th in Coca-Cola 600

CONCORD, N.C., (May 30, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin and the Coors Light crew spent 45 laps behind the wall to finish 39th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"We had top-15 car today," Marlin said. "We had some handling problems in the beginning and the car was skating around. We made some adjustments and were starting to make our way through the field when we burned up the rear end gear. It was a tough day for the Coors Light Dodge, but we'll be back and try again next week at Dover."

After starting from the back of the field for changing motors, Marlin quickly started to work his way through the field. By lap 53, the Coors Light Dodge was up to 22nd. Four laps later, Marlin brought his car down pit road for the first green-flag pit stop of the day. After the standard four tire and fuel pit stop the Coors Light Dodge returned to the field and continued to move up to 20th.

On lap 109, Marlin reported that the car "was sliding off of turn two and it needed grip." Green-flag pit stops started again on lap 112 and the Coors Light Dodge came down pit road on lap 122. This time the Coors Light crew focused on the handling problems and made air pressure adjustments in order to tighten up the car.

The first caution of the night came out on lap 160 and Marlin continued to report that the car was loose and needed grip. The Coors Light crew put four fresh tires, fuel and made a slight air pressure adjustment before returning to the track 21st. The Coors Light Dodge came down pit road three more times in the next 160 laps to continue working on the handling of the car.

On lap 316 Marlin radioed that the car was vibrating and something was wrong with the car. Crew chief Lee McCall told Marlin to take the car to the garage and the Coors Light crew ran back to the garage to find that the rear end gear had burned up. The crew worked feverishly for the next 45 laps to replace the gear and return to the track.

The Coors Light Dodge returned to the track on lap 353 and spent the next 25 laps trying different setups and making adjustments before parking the car on lap 378.

Marlin's 39th-place finish dropped him to 18th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points, 222 points out of the top 10. Ganassi teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears finished fourth and seventh respectively.

The Coors Light team races at Dover International Speedway next weekend. The MBNA 400 will be broadcast live on FX and MRN radio on Sunday June 6th.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray