Marlin wins his second, third for Dodge in 2002; Marlin, Dodge extend leads in NASCAR standings Sterling Marlin's second victory of the season and his eighth straight top 10, including the last three races of 2001, helped the...
Marlin wins his second, third for Dodge in 2002; Marlin, Dodge extend leads in NASCAR standings
Sterling Marlin's second victory of the season and his eighth straight top 10, including the last three races of 2001, helped the 44-year-old Tennessee native extend his lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings to 99 points over runner-up Ryan Newman. Marlin's victory also helped Dodge extend its advantage in the season-long manufacturers standings. Dodge leads Ford 36-31 after the first five races. Pontiac is third with 23 points, and Chevrolet has 20.
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I knew yesterday that we had a good car in the last practice. The lap times yesterday showed we had a good car. The motor had a bad lifter in it and we tried not to take a chance. We put another motor in and went to the rear. We knew if we took our time we could work our way back up through there. Ward started last last year and won the race. We just took our time and eased up through there. Our car was really good on long runs. They could beat us on short runs, but this Coors Light Dodge team is great. I'd like to thank everybody on the team. I hope those guys in the wreck are OK. "Pure luck (way I missed wreck). The 24 is real good at missing them, and I followed him. I almost caught the 20 coming back down the track, but we were just lucky to miss him. The longer we ran, the better we got. Dale Earnhardt taught me something down here a couple of years ago. It helps me get through three and four down here now. I learned from him, and he wore out the track that day. I just tried it today, and it worked out real good for us. "I was real comfortable going in this year, the way we finished last year. It's a credit to all these guys here at the shop and at the race track. Dodge and everybody pitches in and makes this car go. I'm just real fortunate that Chip and Felix let me drive this thing. I'm tickled to death. I'm having the best time of my life."
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T)
"We weren't bad. We were off just a little bit. We never could get what we needed. We made up a lap because somebody malfunctioned. All-in-all, it wasn't a bad day. We got out of here with a 10th place finish. Track position here seems to be everything, and we never could get it back. We'll take it and go on to Bristol."
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T)
"We had a good car, and we got a pit road penalty that we didn't need. They said the catch can man let go of the catch can. That put us behind. We got in a wreck and still came back and finished 16th. The guys worked hard and never gave up, and we're getting better."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"I don't know if we could have won or not, but where we were the best was on long runs. If we could have had a long run at the end it would have come down between us and the 24 and 40. We just never got enough long runs. I'm proud of the guys. We made a bunch of changes this morning and we had a competitive car. It's a shame. It's just one of those things. The spotter and I have got to communicate a little bit better. I didn't know it was blocked. I saw the 44 go down the track. I never saw the 20 car. The spotter couldn't see it, either. Obviously, if he can't see it, I can't. I think if I had it to go over again, I could miss that wreck and we would have finished in the top five where the car was capable of finishing. That's disappointing."
JIMMY SPENCER (No. 41 Target Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"Somebody lost it and took Tony Stewart up into the wall. We all slowed down as much as we could, but that track is so narrow, there's no room there. A lapped car just got into the leader trying to stay on the lead lap. I think we were pretty good. The last adjustment made it a little too free, so we went back to the way we were. I think we were running third or fourth. That's just racing luck. I had a top five car here at Darlington and it's just too bad a lapped car got into the leader. We were just too close to avoid it. That's as hard as I've hit in a long time. I just thank NASCAR for making all this stuff mandatory. I thank my guys at the shop for the head restraints and the way they mount everything. I'm a little sore from stepping on the brake pedal so damn hard. Tony is going to be all right, too. I was talking to him. He came to. I got hit pretty hard from behind and pushed into Tony really hard. We had a good car today. We were flying on new tires. I'm very upset by it, but at least nobody got hurt. Lapped cars have just got to realize they've got to get out of the way. A lapped car isn't going to win this damn race."
WARD BURTON (No. 22 Caterpillar Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It looked like the 44 and 20 cars got together. I thought they had gone down the track, but they got traffic blocked. It's really unfortunate. We had a great run going. It's just one of them damn things you can't control."
HUT STRICKLIN (No. 23 Hills Bros Coffee Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"The 97 spun out in the middle of three and four. I slowed up to miss him. No problem. I guess Brett came through behind me and I was on the other side of the smoke. He couldn't see me and drove into the back end of me. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It bent the tail clip down into the rear end housing. We're trying to jack it all out where we can at least get it where we can drive it. It's not drivable right now. The track bar mounts are about torn off, and they had to put a whole new track bar mount on it. We're just trying to get it where it'll be safe because it was about to fall off. I hope we can get back out there and gain a few spots. The guys are working that much harder because you can gain a lot of spots after a big wreck like that. Hopefully we can gain some. If we can gain one spot it's worth it."
KYLE PETTY (No. 45 Sprint Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"A 14th at Darlington is pretty good for us. We finished 15th last week at Atlanta, so maybe we're gaining on it a little bit. We'll keep plugging away and keep working to get back in the top 10."