Marlin Motors to 12th-Place Finish at Darlington Raceway DARLINGTON, S.C., (November 14, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin rocketed into the top-10 by lap 32 of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 and survived a late race spin to take the checkered flag in...
Marlin Motors to 12th-Place Finish at Darlington Raceway
DARLINGTON, S.C., (November 14, 2004) --- Sterling Marlin rocketed into the top-10 by lap 32 of the Mountain Dew Southern 500 and survived a late race spin to take the checkered flag in the 12th position at Darlington Raceway.
After rain forced qualifying to be canceled, the field was set by current car owner points with Marlin lining up in the 21st spot. The Coors Light Dodge had worked its way up through the field and was running fifth when green-flag pit stops started on lap 55. Marlin reported that the car was good as he brought the Coors Light Dodge down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel on lap 63.
When the second caution came out on lap 82, Marlin was running sixth and still radioing that the car was "really good." After another four tire and fuel pit stop Marlin restarted ninth on lap 87. Marlin continued to run in the top-10 for the next 63 laps. After racing resumed on lap 150 following the third caution, Marlin was 11th.
Marlin radioed that the car was getting loose on lap 179. However, the Coors Light Dodge continued to gain positions and Marlin had worked his way up to eighth when the yellow flag flew on lap 194. The Coors Light crew made a wedge and air pressure adjustment and took on four tires and fuel and returned to the track 11th.
The Coors Light crew continued to make air pressure and wedge adjustments over the next 106 laps before Marlin tangled with the No. 21 car on lap 302. Marlin sustained damage to the right front and left rear of the Coors Light Dodge. The Coors Light crew put on four fresh tires, added fuel and fixed the damage before sending Marlin back out on the track in the 15th spot.
Marlin continued to fight during the final 58 laps, gaining three spots and finishing 12th in the final fall race at Darlington Raceway.
"The car was extremely fast in the beginning of the race," Marlin said. "Then the track started to change and the crew continued to make the adjustments needed to make the car better. We'll continue to go after it and hopefully end the season with a win next weekend at Homestead."
Marlin's 12th-place finish elevated him one spot to 20th in the NEXTEL Cup championship points. Ganassi teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears finished fourth and 26th respectively.
The Coors Light team travels to Miami-Homestead Speedway for the final race of the 2004 season. Marlin has two top-five finishes in four starts at Miami-Homestead Speedway. The Ford 400 will be broadcast live on NBC and MRN radio on Sunday afternoon.