STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) NOTE: An avid University of Tennessee football fan, Marlin will turn his attention to another SEC game today since Tennessee has a bye. Marlin plans to watch the Auburn-Georgia contest. Marlin gives his...
STERLING MARLIN (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge)
NOTE: An avid University of Tennessee football fan, Marlin will turn his attention to another SEC game today since Tennessee has a bye. Marlin plans to watch the Auburn-Georgia contest. Marlin gives his opinion on that game and some others this weekend.
"You've got to go with Auburn. They've got two awesome running backs, a fifth-year senior quarterback and I don't think they can stop Cadillac (Williams) unless they pull a plug wire off or something.
"I guess I've got to go with Florida against South Carolina. Clemson will beat Duke. I don't keep up with the NFL except for the Titans. They've all been hurt, but they've had a week off so maybe they've healed up. I'll pick 'em to beat the Bears."
SO WHO DO YOU PICK TO WIN SUNDAY'S RACE? "I don't know. The normal guys who run good here will run good here, but everybody is going to slip and slide. I don't think it'll make any difference if we finish under the lights. It's going to be cold anyway. We ran good yesterday, so I think we've got a shot. It's going to be whoever can run the best betweens laps 20-40. You might get beat a couple of tenths on the get-go, but you could be three-tenths faster after a few laps. I'd say about 40-45 laps will be the limit for tires. After that you'll be hunting pit road."
HOW'S IT LOOK FOR THE 40 TEAM NEXT SEASON? "Well, we're all going to have some changes to deal with it looks like. They're cutting the spoilers off and changing the tires again, and from what I'm hearing we're going to qualify the cars and impound them in 23 races. At Daytona, I've heard we're going to qualify on Sunday and won't get back on the track until Wednesday. At Bristol, we'll qualify on Friday, have Happy Hour on Friday night and come back Sunday morning and race. Everybody will be in the same boat. I think they're going to lock in the top 35 in points, so it'll be interesting to see how it all works out."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
"I haven't raced it much. I've never been involved in it (Southern 500), but to be part of it is awesome. It's a race I've always watched, and it's definitely one of the most fun and most difficult tracks we go to all year long. For a 500-mile race that's pretty awesome. I watched Terry Labonte win it last year. It's an exciting weekend. I wish we could keep two races here, and I wish we could keep the Southern 500. I think it's one of the greatest races we go to."
YOU'VE GOT TO RACE THREE TIMES THIS WEEKEND. IS THAT GOING TO BE TOUGH? "I wish we could have raced (truck race) last night. I was ready to race, but it'll be fun to race two races today and one tomorrow. It shouldn't be too bad. It'll be nice and cool, so it'll be a lot of laps but I'm up for it. I enjoy driving whatever possible. This place is like anything they do anymore. Whoever put the lights in did it right. You don't even know it's dark. The track will probably have a little bit more grip being at night, but it's so cool out this weekend anyway. It's probably not going to change a whole lot, and it's going to be fun racing under the lights and watching the trucks glow around the track."
WILL IT BE AN ADVANTAGE FOR YOU TO HAVE TWO RACES UNDER YOUR BELT BEFORE THE CUP RACE? "I don't think so. I don't think you can get too much of an advantage over some of these guys who have raced this race so long and have won Southern 500s or the spring race at Darlington. It's tough to get too much of an advantage over anybody any more, but for me, I think it helps to get more laps. To drive around this track more and more you figure little things out every time you make a lap. Those things will help me out tomorrow."
SO WHAT'S ALL THE TALK ABOUT JUST RACING THE TRACK? "It's all about racing the track and keeping your tires on the car. They'll fall off quick, and they'll fall off quicker if you make them. You definitely have to race the racetrack and keep working on your car all day to get it better."
COMMENT ON HAVING SUCH A HUGE LEAD IN THE RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR STANDINGS? "Does that mean I've won it? How's that work? I haven't won anything this year, so if I win that I'll be real happy. That was our biggest goal this year. We've been doing a great job in the rookie race, and the team has done an awesome job. It'll be real exciting to win that after all the other drivers that have won it. We'll go to New York to the banquet because of it. We still want to win a race. That's as big a goal as rookie of the year, so that's something we really need to work on these last two races."
COMMENT ON THE SITUATION WITH KEVIN HARVICK "Last week after the race I said it was no big deal. I still say it's not a big deal. Me and Kevin have talked about it and laughed about it. It wasn't near as big a deal as it turned into. It was just emotions after a race and one guy thinking one thing and another guy thinking another. We were just a little bit mixed up on it. We really weren't mad at each other and we still aren't. We were laughing yesterday talking about some other stuff. It's nothing we're going to take any further than last Sunday at Phoenix. I didn't know that (fine) was going to happen. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. We'll just have to make sure we don't run into anybody after a race again."