Daytona 500: Sterling Marlin preview

COORS LIGHT TEAM FACTS: * Chassis: The Coors Light team will race chassis ...

COORS LIGHT TEAM FACTS:

* Chassis: The Coors Light team will race chassis #005 during Speedweeks 2003.

* Gatorade 125s: In 22 starts, Marlin has won three Gatorade 125 races (1995, 1998, 2001).

* Daytona 500: Marlin's first-career victory was the 1994 Daytona 500. In 1995, he became the first driver in history to record Daytona 500 wins as his first two career NASCAR Winston Cup victories. Marlin became the third driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s.

* Marlin earned his first-career NASCAR Winston Cup pole position in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway in 1991.

STERLING MARLIN QUOTES:

"You look at 2001, we were third in points and no one gave us much of a chance when the season started. We came back last year and had the same team, the same everybody and led points. We felt like when we went into last year we had a pretty good chance to win the championship from the previous year with the fall we put together. We've got the same everything now, so I think we can come back and be as strong this year. Hopefully we won't get hurt.

"There was nothing I could do about it. Once they saw the X-rays and I saw 'em, I knew I couldn't drive. It's frustrating. We worked hard all year to get in a position to try to win the championship and then have that happen. Worst things have happened. We're glad to be back this year and we're looking forward to getting it done this year.

"Last year we wore the Hutchens and Hans. We're going to wear the Hans this year. If I'd had it on last year, it might not have cracked my neck, I don't know. Given what we saw, the Hans deal looks a little safer than the Hutchens deal. NASCAR is always doing things to make it safer.

"I guess everybody saw it. It's a deal where I'd been racing cars a long time and I knew going around the track the fender was on the tire hard. What were they going to do? Put you in jail? We knew we were going to have to pit anyway and go to the rear. We thought we'd just try to call their bluff and get out there and try to pull it off and get back in the car. It didn't quite work. I didn't know he (inspector) was behind me. He scared me when he touched me on the shoulder. The hardest part was getting the window net hooked back. I didn't think I was ever going to get it hooked. I finally got it hooked. If I'd known that I wouldn't have tried to hook it. I would have just come in the pits. It almost killed me.

"We're having a good time. That's what I did last year. If you can't have a good time, you might as well stay home. I feel real good. The guys have a lot of good cars built up. We're going to do some more testing before we go back to Las Vegas and try to win at Vegas again. We need to get off to a quick start. We've done that the past two years, so we hope we can do it again this year."

CHIP GANASSI QUOTES:

Expectations for this season? "I have to look at it a couple different ways. First of all with Sterling in the Coors Light car, we have high expectations there is no question. With Jamie we want to validate what happened in 2002 with him and continue that. With Casey in the Target car we want to get him off to a good start and carry that through the season. Our expectations for this year are like they always are. We are about performance around here and we want to do well. You can have a great year and not win the championship. We want to be in the top-3 for sure. We're fortunate to have the wily veteran and two young rookies. It's the best of both worlds."

Can you make a three-car team work? "The answer lies ahead of us. I surely think we can or I wouldn't have done it. It's about the people we have and we have great people on our team. It starts with Andy Graves and Tony Glover and it flows down from there. I'm excited about it. You're either getting big or your getting smaller. If you're standing still you're backing up."

<pre> COORS LIGHT CREW:

Name                    Crew position           Race shop duty
Al Shuford              Team Trainer            Team Trainer
Nate Kennon             Front Tire Changer      Front Mechanic
Trent Davis             Front Tire Carrier      Race Day Only
Mike Atwell             Rear Tire Changer       Test Team
Tim Shore               Rear Tire Carrier       Race Day Only
Greg Pasi               Jack Man                Race Day Only
Jerry Schweitz          Gas Man                 Transportation Director
Mike Motil              Catch Can Man           Tire Specialist
Tony Santanicola        Windshield              Engine Specialist
Lorin Ranier            Spotter                 Manager
Tony Santanicola        Engine Specialist       Engine Specialist
Steve Boyer             Engineer                Engineer
Derek Staments          Pit Support             Shocks
Dave Mitchell           Pit Support             Truck Driver
Mark Poole              Pit Support             Rear Mechanic
Todd Osborne            Pit Support             Car Chief
John Sacco              Scorer                  Parts Department

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Mark Poole