Marlin Eighth Fastest in Daytona 500 Qualifying Locks In Starting Spot for Season Opener DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2007)-- Sterling Marlin posted the eighth-fastest speed during Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session, guaranteeing himself a...
Marlin Eighth Fastest in Daytona 500 Qualifying
Locks In Starting Spot for Season Opener
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2007)-- Sterling Marlin posted the eighth-fastest speed during Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session, guaranteeing himself a spot in the Feb. 18 season opener.
Martin covered the 2.5-mile oval in 48.663 seconds at 184.945 miles per hour.
"What a relief," offered Marlin. "The three cars outside of the Top 35 with the fastest qualifying laps today were guaranteed a spot in the 500 and we were one of them. That's a huge relief for this team and a lot of weight taken off our shoulders. Slugger (crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe) and all the guys on the Waste Management team worked their tails off in the off season to bring a car back here that we could be confident would make the show and that's exactly what they did."
While only the front row was set by today's time trials, Thursday's Gatorade Duel races will place drivers in the remaining positions for the Daytona 500. Because the No. 14 team ended last season outside of the Top 35 in the Nextel Cup owner point standings, Marlin wasn't not guaranteed a spot in the race.
"We would've had another shot to make the race on Thursday, but now that we're locked in we can focus on getting a top starting spot for the 500," said Marlin. "We've been fast since we unloaded and we were happy with the way our Waste Management Chevy drove in the pack during testing. I love this race track and I'm glad I can stop worrying about making the show and start focusing on winning it."
Thursday's Duel races will be broadcast live on Speed beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
The following is an overview on how the Daytona 500 starting field is set:
Pos 1 and 2: Pole sitter and outside pole sitter from Bud Pole qualifying.
Pos 3 thru 39: Top 35 in previous season car owner points and two highest finishing teams in each Gatorade Duel race NOT in the Top 35.
Pos 40-42: Fastest qualifiers not in by above (based on Pole Day speeds).
Pos 43: Past champion provisional, otherwise the spot goes to the next fastest qualifier.
*Note: NASCAR will not release official Pole Day qualifying results or lineups for Thursday's Gatorade Duel qualifying races until post-Pole Day qualifying technical inspection is complete.