DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 14, 2002)& ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 14, 2002)– The Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T driven by Sterling Marlin finished sixth in the first Gatorade 125 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. The Coors Light team will start 13th in the Daytona 500.
During first round qualifying, Marlin ran a 49.140-second lap time (183.150 mph) placing him 25th among the 53 qualifiers. Due to the odd-numbered qualifying result, the Coors Light team was placed in the first Gatorade 125 qualifying race and started in 13th position.
During the first 10 laps of the event, Marlin stayed two-wide and continued to move up through the pack on the high groove. On lap 11, the Coors Light Dodge was caught in the middle groove and jumped in line in seventh place in the second pack of cars. For the remainder of the 50-lap race, Marlin stayed on the back bumper of the No. 28 of Ricky Rudd in an effort to draft and reach the front 5-car pack.
From lap 12 to 48, Rudd and Marlin continued to try to catch the front pack. Eventually, on lap 49, the two were able to catch the pack and Marlin, with the drafting help of Kurt Busch, was able to get in the high groove and gain one more position at the checkered flag.
“ I ran all I could run today,” Marlin said. “ That was it. I ran wide open behind Ricky (Rudd) for 40 laps and even with help behind me to push me I couldn’t even get a run on him to try to pass him. The only way anybody is going to pass is get the cars handling good so you can drive by them.”
Marlin’s sixth place finish puts the Coors Light Dodge on the 13th starting spot for the Daytona 500.
“ The GM cars broke away from us and Geoff Bodine ran into me. After we got out of the two-deep deal and got down to single file I ran wide open for 40 laps. I never lifted, and it was all we could do. I couldn’t even run up and hit Ricky (Rudd) in the back end. My car wouldn’t go down the straightaway. It’s got too much spoiler on it. That lead pack got to racing each other and we caught them at the end. We need some help on that spoiler. We’ve got more drag than anybody here. I don’t understand it. The best cars were in the first race. If it gets 100 degrees and we don’t have any cautions we might be able to do something with them Sunday. What are the odds of that happening? On fresh tires, they just kill us.”
Next on the schedule for the No. 40 Coors Light team is the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17.