Darlington II: Dodge Motorsports - Sterling Marlin

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "We feel like if we can get the car like we had it here in the spring we should be a top five car. We had a real good run in the spring. We had to change motors and started in the rear. We...

STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"We feel like if we can get the car like we had it here in the spring we should be a top five car. We had a real good run in the spring. We had to change motors and started in the rear. We took our time and went to the front. It's a real big bonus for us ($200,000 NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus) and we've got a big bonus coming up next week in the Winston No Bull 5, so we'll see if we can put together two good weekends.

"The track doesn't change here a whole lot. It's going to be cool. I guess it'll be cloudy and overcast here tomorrow if we can get it in. It's important for everybody to get out and get in at least 45 minutes of practice if the rain holds off so you can see what you've got.

"Bristol and Darlington are two tough tracks. You have to kind of dodge the bullets all night long and all day long. Richmond is a track where you don't tear up a lot of cars. A lot of cars usually finish Richmond. It's a real competitive race. It's three tracks I think we run good at. We've got two to go so hopefully we can put together two good weekends.

"Look at the people we had at Bristol, and it'll be a packed house here Sunday. We'll go to Richmond and it'll be a packed house Saturday night.

"You wouldn't think it is, but Bristol is a little bit wider than Darlington. Here if you get tied up with somebody about half the time it takes you out, too. There's nowhere to go. The track gets so slick and it's hard to turn the steering wheel to make a move to get away from somebody. The tires wear out and you slide up into 'em. It's a lot of give and take, a lot of patience to run this track.

"I'd like to be on it (Sex in the City). We never have done it, but we'll sure try. We're going to work hard to win the championship, and who knows.

"You'd like to think that (the championship is meant to be). A couple of people at home have said the same thing. We'll just keep doing what we've been doing. We'd like to get a couple more wins before the year's over. If we can maintain what we've been doing I think we've got a pretty good shot.

"You've got to watch Jeff (Gordon) any time. He's real competitive week in and week out. He drives real hard. He's got a great race team under him. He's won a race and that might give him some momentum. He ran real good at Michigan and a couple of races before that and popped back at Bristol and won the race. We're just going to concentrate on our car and try to make that Coors Light Dodge run as fast as it can and take care of our business. We haven't won since Darlington. We had a good car at Pocono and had a chance to win a couple more that just got away from us. We'll just work on our car and hope there's no more rule changes and see what we've got.

"I've known Tony (Glover) since 1977 or 78 and started working with him in 1994 with Morgan-McClure. I've had a great friendship with him over the years. He thinks like I think and he's kind of a laid back guy. He doesn't get too excited about nothing. He's just a real good friend. It's a good relationship. He had to work on his daddy's cars, and I worked on mine. He's done it all. He's even driven race cars, so if you look at our backgrounds it's kind of similar.

"I think it would be pretty neat (to have more races at night). It's always been a Sunday or Monday race and if you ran it on Saturday night, that's when I'd run it so you could have the day off on Sunday, but I think it would be pretty neat. Fans really like the night races and I think they'd have to build some more stands here (for a night race).

"He's been great. Chip has won four championships in CART. He's a real competitive person and wants the cars up front. He's given us tools and opportunity to do it with. I've had a great relationship with him. He'll call once a week and see what we need and what we need to do to get better. That's what it takes. I've never seen a deal since I've been with him that we needed something and he wouldn't buy it.

"I've been here and done it for a long time. I've never led the points for that long, but we were kind of in the mix last year. We led it for one race, went back to seventh and came in the last two or three races in fifth. We came back and finished third. To me it's just kind of business as usual. You just show up week in and week out and show up with the Coors Light Dodge and do the best we can. If we can't win, we try to get a top five. If we can't do that, we try to get a top 10. Hopefully after Homestead it'll all shake out and we'll add it up and have enough to win the thing.

"I remember 1992 when Davey (Allison) was leading the thing and got in a wreck and opened it up for Alan Kulwicki and Bill Elliott. I guess Kulwicki had it figured out where he had to lead more laps than Bill. It was pretty slick on his part. It was a pretty eventful day. I guess it was the day Richard retired and the whole deal.

"Steadman (Marlin) is going to drive 12 Busch races next season with Keystone Light as the sponsor. He'll try to get some other sponsors so he can run a few more Busch races.

"I think it energizes you (to lead standings almost entire season). It pays $3.7 million so we're going to try to get it. We've got Dodge that's going to kick in an extra million, so it's definitely something we want to do. Last year we hung around fourth or fifth place. You look at the payoff sheet and you do everything you can do to try to do better, so week in and week out we're just working on our cars and trying to do better.

"Back with Bobby and Donnie and Cale, that was pretty good. It's a real competitive sport and I guess what really gets under your skin you run about a whole race and with 50 to go you get took out or something. Everybody wants to win. You look at the competition 10 years ago to now and it's really closed up. Everybody is just racing hard at the end. It's aggravating to get taken out when you're running good.

"You never give up. You've got a dream to do something and you just work hard. Felix got a little frustrated and Chip comes along and buys the team and everything falls in place. I think you can look back two or three years ago, and I'm the same driver I was. I've got good equipment with good people working on the cars. You drive your guts out and run 15th or you drive hard and run first. It's all about getting good equipment and good people.

"We show up each week and when we get to the race track we want to win. If we win or get top fives, then the points are a no-brainer. We race as hard as we can each week and try to win the thing and see how it all shakes out."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Sterling Marlin , Alan Kulwicki