Daytona Duels: Sterling Marlin race report

LATE RACE INCIDENT FORCES MARLIN TO BACKUP CAR FOR DAYTONA 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2006) -- What looked to be a very successful run at Daytona International Speedway for Sterling Marlin turned into a nightmare when an incident under...

LATE RACE INCIDENT FORCES MARLIN TO BACKUP CAR FOR DAYTONA 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2006) -- What looked to be a very successful run at Daytona International Speedway for Sterling Marlin turned into a nightmare when an incident under caution damaged the No. 14 Waste Management Chevrolet, forcing the team to a backup car for Sunday's Daytona 500.

Marlin showed a strong performance in Thursday's first of two Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races, starting eighth and running as high as fourth several times. Then on Lap 58 of 60, the caution flag waved, setting up a green-white-checkered restart.

As Marlin followed the field across the start-finish line for the final caution lap, he was caught off guard as several other racecars slowed to avoid debris and the result was a wrecked racecar. By going to a backup car he will be forced to start the Daytona 500 from the rear of the field.

"I don't know what happened," said Marlin, who was credited with a 26th-place finish. "I reached down to look at my oil temperature and when I looked back up everyone was dead stopped. I didn't get any warning so I turned the wheel to avoid the people in front of me and made contact with another car. The way the brakes are here you can't stop, you just slide the tires."

Marlin drove his Waste Management Chevy down pit road where the team accessed the damage before pulling it into the garage and calling it a day.

"We didn't really have time to work on anything on pit road since there were only two laps left," said Marlin. "Doug (Randolph- crew chief) and the team looked at the car after the race and decided it'd be best to go to the backup. The only silver lining is that our backup car should be as good as our primary was. We came down here testing last month and had a tough time deciding which car to bring back so that's a good sign for Sunday."

"We could really slice and dice through there and were able to run down the field when we needed to," added Marlin. "Hopefully this backup Waste Management Chevy will be able to do the same thing. We'll get some good practice time in during the next couple of days and then make our way up front Sunday."

Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 will be broadcast live on NBC beginning with a pre-race show at 1:30 p.m. ET.

-mb2m

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin